Baseball America has continued releasing their top tools for each league. Several Cincinnati Reds prospects showed up on the lists for the Southern League and Florida State League.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos had three players land at the top of various categories. Tyler Mahle got the nod for best control among pitchers and Jimmy Herget took home the nod for best reliever. In the outfield it was Aristides Aquino topping the league with the best outfield arm. None of those should come as much of a surprise with what we know about the players.

In Daytona there were several Tortugas that were on top of several categories as well. Nick Senzel was on top of two categories: Best batting prospect and best defensive third baseman. Shed Long and Alfredo Rodriguez got nods as best defensive second baseman and best defensive shortstop. Seeing Shed Long as the best defensive second baseman is a slight surprise. While he’s not ever been known as a bad defender, he wasn’t known as a plus kind of defender in the past, either. It’s a nice sign that he’s being recognized for his defense after hitting so well with Daytona.

Podcasting with Lance McAlister

On Wednesday afternoon I was on ESPN 1530 here in Cincinnati to talk about the Reds farm system. We talked about Tyler Mahle, Shed Long, Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Jose Siri and Jose Lopez. Give it a listen below.

Bob Castellini isn’t happy with the pace of the rebuild

Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer talked with owner Bob Castellini about the recent sale of MLB BamTech to Disney, which will give each team $52.6M (a one time payment). You can read the full article here. The part that stood out to me from the article, though, was this:

Castellini did say some of the money would “help our payroll for a little bit, at least for a short period of time.” He also expressed his frustration in the slow progress of the Reds rebuild. The Reds have a host of young starters trying to adapt to the majors, and perhaps only Luis Castillo has been an unabashed hit so far.

I want to focus more on the frustration with the slow progress of the rebuild. Bob Castellini is the owner of the team. He’s the guy who didn’t even want to start a rebuild and held onto players because of the All-Star game being in Cincinnati. The actual rebuild didn’t even start until after the 2015 season. So, it hasn’t even been two years. The rebuilds of the Cubs, the Astros – they took 5+ years.

I understand. I want the team to be better than they are right now, too. But I’d have to say that the rebuild may be further along if he had committed to it earlier. Or, if as the owner, he decided to spend a little bit more money on the roster. I understand that it’s a business and they claim they aren’t making money (though I remain skeptical of such claims after seeing them from other teams, then actually seeing their accounting sheets that were leaked to deadspin), but the ownership group of the Reds can probably find a way to scrounge together some extra money for payroll if they are truly tired of how long the rebuild is taking. You can recoup that money when you sell the team, which has nearly quadrupled in value since you bought it 11 years ago. I’m not one to tell others how to spend their money, but the frustration is an interesting one coming from the one person who actually has the power to change what’s going on.

12 Responses

  1. paul nyhart

    I’m probably reading too much into it (or just reading incorrectly) but I felt his frustration was more towards the Reds inability to show any discernible progress in their young rotation; i.e. it being more of a development issue than a personal problem.

    He certainly doesn’t seem like the most patient guy in the world and clearly wants to win now (which yes, probably hurt the rebuild re: holding back Chapman from the D-backs deal and actually caring about what the team looked like at the ASB in 2015), but I think it’s geared more towards the Reds coaches and the young players who haven’t shown progress. Hence the frustration might simply be he feels the Reds have more talent than their current record indicates, but again that’s me just trying to read between the lines.

    • Cguy

      Castellini may not be able to influence Williams as much as his friend & former GM Walt. If so, that’s a good thing.

  2. Hingle McCringleberry

    Castellini kills me. He fired a manager who took him to the playoffs 3 out of 4 years. He then re signed jocketty who promptly fired baker and hired an unproven in price. Jocketty Is responsible for not getting the help baker needed. This why we have been screwed with the old stingy owners. If you don’t have guts to have a 140-150 mil payroll then you shouldn’t own a team. We need a young flamboyant win at any cost owner who cannot to a large payroll for five years or so.

    He can also fire Kevin towers and trim all that unnecessary office fat.

    • Hingle McCringleberry

      Let me revise

      Owner who can commit to 140-150 mil

      We have been screwed by older stingy owners

      • Cinvenfan

        Absolutely incorrect. Castellini may have many flaws but being stingy isn’t one of them. Votto’s, BP’s & Homer’s contracts atención probe of that.

      • Wes

        I agree. He spends too much in the wrong places. Plus 150 mill doesn’t win divisions.

      • MK

        The non so called stingy owners also have teams that bring in a great deal more income than the Reds, mostly with their media contracts. The Castelini ownership certainly has been willing to put out the cash on International signings and just set the record for a draft pick signing bonus so it is a little unfair to call them out for not spending their money.

    • docmike

      If you think Dusty Baker was in any way responsible for the Reds making the playoffs those years, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Wyoming to sell you…

  3. Wes

    Nice piece Doug. Since I have followed your work- you have done a good job walking a fine line with organization while not coming off as a reds homer.

  4. RobL

    Why surprised that Big Bob is frustrated with the rebuild. We all know he didn’t want to rebuild in the first place. He was obviously sold on the quick rebuild, with all players coming back in trades close to the bigs. I am sure he was planning on being much more competitive this season. But again, injuries ended the season almost before it started.

    On top of this, the problem with the team is obviously the rotation. Homer may be washed up (he may also just need to knock the rust off). Disco and Finnegan are both big questions going forward. And That’s the top three. Stephenson, Reed, Garrett, Romano, and Rookie have all struggled more than succeeded. Castillo is promising, but he needs to improve that slider or get a cutter. Mahle is promising, but is apparently dominating off of one pitch. That is a little discouraging.

    Just because other rebuilds took longer, you know that is not what Bob wanted. As for increasing payroll, I don’t think I can recall people saying that what the Reds needed to do was pay a 3/4 pitcher 15 million plus a year. And his quote about using the cash infusion to help cover payroll for a while would seem to indicate that the team is already operating in the red due to the big drop in attendance. While Doug is always willing for owners to operate in debt, and just make up the losses when you sell, what if the owners would like to keep the team in the family, and not just use it as an exciting investment opportunity.

    • Doug Gray

      If the owners want to just keep the team in the family, that’s fine. Eventually, someone in your family is going to reap these rewards. The Castellini family isn’t going to own the Reds for the next 100 years. Bob, as much as I hate to say it, like the rest of us, isn’t going to be around forever. He’s 75-years-old. I can understand the whole “want to win now” thing. But, if that’s going to be your stance, then you, as the owner, need to step up to the plate. Do you want to win, or do you want to break even right now? Which is more important? As I said, I hate telling other people how to spend their money, but when you’re running a business worth a billion dollars and what everyone else seemed to understand as a long-term plan, and you’re publicly complaining that in less than two years it’s not going as quickly as you hoped, then step up and spend the money to get where you want it to be. Mike Ilitch, former Tigers owner, was losing tens of millions of dollars a year (reportedly) on the Tigers because he wanted to win and knew that he wasn’t going to be around forever. Now, to be fair, his personal wealth was quite a bit more than that of Castellini, and he was not a part of an ownership group. But, to him, winning was more important than not losing money in the short term (and he probably knew he was never going to recoup that money because he wasn’t going to sell before he left this planet). I guess my point is, he’s literally the only person who has the power to truly change something. Dick Williams can’t do that. Bryan Price can’t do that. Joey Votto can’t do that. Bob Castellini can. I get the frustration. I do. But unlike him, I can’t do anything to fix it. He’s able to if he really wants to do so.