With the calendar year coming to an end it seemed like a good time to take a look at the best, and worst moves made by the Cincinnati Reds during the past 365 days. This isn’t defined as solely roster moves, but also just decisions that were made by the team.

The three best moves and decisions of 2017

The best move that was made by the Cincinnati Reds during 2017 isn’t up for debate. On January 19th the team acquired Luis Castillo, Austin Brice and Zeke White for Dan Straily. At the time it seemed like a good move. With hindsight of what happened during 2017, specifically in regards to Luis Castillo, it looks like an absolute steal. He only saw action for about half of a season. However, he dominated for that time – posting a 3.12 ERA in 89.1 innings with 98 strikeouts.

Another move made before the regular season began, the Reds picked up Scooter Gennett on waivers. The Brewers didn’t want to pay him what he was due in arbitration, a measly $2.5M. Instead, they waived him because they were cheap. Their loss was Cincinnati’s gain. The 27-year-old hit .295/.342/.531 with 27 home runs and 97 RBI for the Reds during the year. He’s also under team control for the next two seasons.

Following the regular season the Reds and Tucker Barnhart came to an agreement on a contract extension. The Reds basically said that Barnhart will be their main catcher moving forward for the next handful of seasons. After winning a Gold Glove for his efforts in 2017, he inked what I consider an incredibly team friendly contract that pays him $15.5M over the next four seasons. To put into perspective how good of a deal that is, according to Fangraphs, Barnhart was worth $16.4M in free agent dollars for his 2017 season alone.

The three worst moves and decisions of 2017

The worst decision of 2017 may very well be waiting to move Zack Cozart. This wasn’t entirely the fault of the Reds. The teams in contention weren’t exactly in need of a shortstop, so the market wasn’t hot. But, if there was even a small market for his services, while having the most outrageous season of his life, the Reds waited and hoped a better market would develop. And that patience bit them right in the butt. Zack Cozart would get injured the last week of July and the rest was history. The team essentially had to hold onto him at that point and was unable to get back anything for him as he headed into free agency following the season.

Some could argue, and I believe it holds water, that giving Bronson Arroyo a 25-man roster spot and a rotation spot to begin the year is the worst move the team made. While the organization will never say it, I believe that it was very calculated in how he was used during spring training. He threw a total of 7.2 innings in big league camp. Most of his time was spent pitching on the backfields, away from fans, media, scouts and radar guns. That hid what he was from the fans. It made their decision to give him a spot on the roster easier, without much backlash early on because many people hadn’t seen just how much of a shell he was of his former self.

When the season began it was painfully obvious that Bronson Arroyo wasn’t going to get it done. In the age of velocity where everyone throws 93+, he was slinging fastballs up there between 83-85 MPH. At the end of April he had an ERA of 7.20. Two solid starts to begin May bought him another seven before the team cut him loose. 14 starts in a rebuilding year to a 40-year-old who had an ERA over 6.00 in each of the three months he was with the team.

The final decision is a tough one, and I think it could be one of several, but I’m going to go with the decision to put Robert Stephenson in the bullpen and use him sparingly over the first two months of the season. I wrote about the bizarre usage he was getting, and how when he had regular time he was successful, but when he went long periods without pitching he was getting his brains beat in upon return a day before the organization stepped in and put an end to the experiment.

Robert Stephenson’s ERA out of the bullpen was 8.03. He returned to join the Reds in late July, this time as a starter, and over his 12 games he posted an ERA of 3.30. Regular usage was huge for Stephenson. He still had some concerns with how frequently he walked batters during that time. Still, it was painfully obvious that he was a different pitcher.


82 Responses

  1. Greg

    You articulated the Arroyo thing perfectly. It was a clown show in an attempt to sell tickets in the early season.

  2. Hingle McCringleberry

    Great article Doug. I know you’ll fall over reading this. When I say things negative about this franchise, it’s not because I have nothing positive to say. I just feel castellini is bad for this franchise. Williams and price too. Not one gm in baseball would have stuck Bronson in the rotation and watched the morale of Stephenson and reed go down the tubes.

    I often wondered if Stephenson pitched bad on purpose just to get to Louisville. Losing dusty still bothers me because there was stability. He was a leader. He knew the game. Cuetoand leake did well under dusty. All starters did ok. Like I said before, count the years the reds made it to the playoffs and look who the manager was. They often made the playoffs with a very experienced manager. Big name manager.

    Sparky Anderson
    Lou pinella
    Davy Johnson
    Jake McKeon
    Dusty Baker

    Am I missing another manager in the modern era?

    • Doug Gray

      I’m not much of a believer that the manager makes the team, but that the team makes the manager. In very, very, very rare cases is that not true in the sport of baseball.

    • Colt Holt

      Reed isn’t struggling because his morale is down. Reed is struggling because he was tipping pitches and is trying to relearn how to pitch in the majors. Bronson’s presence was likely a benefit from teaching pitching not throwing.

    • JPhillips

      Remember how Dusty’s firing happened. Management told him to make some coaching staff changes and he balked, threatening to quit. At that point it became an issue about who was in charge and they, rightly in my mind, let Dusty go. Once he tried to assert that he was the power in the organization the only choices were to agree or fire him.

      • reaganspad

        I would actually rather have Price than Dusty. He has taken good teams in SF, Chicago, Cincy and Washington to the same place. exact same scenario each time.

        He is a class enough guy to get the gig, but he is not a difference maker. Cueto’s emergence has more to do with Price as pitching coach than Dusty. Same with Leake. Price is very good with pitching, but not great with other game facts.

        Dusty had Prior and Woods in Chicago, Strasburg in WA and there is a theme there.

        Under Dusty we never would have seen Suarez develop let alone Duvall or Shebler. He also would have signed a veteran catcher and we would not have seen Tucker develop.

        Dusty wants vets playing for him. Cincy cannot afford that type of team, and note we are the only one of his 4 stops in that size of market. that 2010 Reds team was primed for Dusty Baker, but I submit that he underachieved with it, as he has done in his other 3 stops. Dusty plays not to lose, and that rarely wins championships

  3. Hod Eller

    Can’t argue with any of Doug’s picks, though I don’t think the plan was to have Bronson start so many games. He was slated to be the long reliever/spot starter before all the injuries, but the inability of the young pitchers to throw strikes or to last more than a few innings forced Price to use him more often than anticipated. Continuing to run them out there would have been more of a “clown show.” Why he then let them languish in the pen, rather than send them down, remains a mystery.

  4. Wes

    Worse move was resigning price. I liked him when reds signed him and I was cool w reds keeping him last season but keeping him for next is a bad mistake! Only real red mark to Dick since he’s been gm. Team had a serious loosing moral and price is going to do what best for him because he’s managing for his career. Reds shoulda took some random nobody on a one year deal or been patient and then signed joe giradi.

    Giradi made it happen in Miami when he was there! He’s perfect fit in cincy! They coulda gave him keys to castle when fired and that would be reds best move by far.

    • Doug Gray

      Girardi was not brought back by the Yankees for the exact reasons that he wouldn’t be a good fit for the Reds.

      • HavaKlu

        Didn’t work well with young players? I guess Judge, Sanchez, Gregorius, Severino and Green don’t qualify!!

      • Doug Gray

        You seem to be confusing the players being good with him working well with them. They are very different things.

      • Rich


        Doug Says: December 28, 2017
        “I’m not much of a believer that the manager makes the team, but that the team makes the manager. In very, very, very rare cases is that not true in the sport of baseball.”

        So, you don’t believe a manager matters. Then, you claim Girardi was not retained by the Yanks for not working with young talent. And he would not be a good fit for these exact reasons.

        Another poster shows you, that not only has the Young talent on the Yanks flourished under him, the team was also a playoff team, they made it to the ALCS.

        Then you pontificate: “You seem to be confusing the players being good with him (Girardi) working well with them. They are very different things.”Doug Gray

        Lol. You cant keep up with the circles that you talk in. You dont think managers matter. but you do. But you dont think that young players performing and teams winning matter, cause they should be better liked by the players.

        Just admit it, you have no consistent POV or stance. You just talk in circles and make zero sense.

      • Doug Gray

        You seem to be confusing a lot of things.

        I don’t believe the manager makes the team, but that the team makes the manager.

        The New York media was reporting that the front office decided not to bring Girardi back because he didn’t communicate well with the young guys.

        None of that is me talking in circles. That’s me stating my opinion in the first sentence, and something that isn’t related to anything I believe at all in the second, but rather me stating what was reported by others.

        I did state that because of that he wouldn’t be a good fit for the Reds. I stated that because I believe the Reds are going to want to bring someone in who they believe will work well with younger players, someone who will communicate well and relate to them. Right now, what information we have is that Joe Girardi is not that guy.

        Sorry for not explaining all of that better across multiple posts that weren’t related to each other at all that led to your confusion.

      • Wes

        Being good and performing are two different things. Giradi gets first class performances out of his players. He has an extensive track record back to Miami days that reflect he does better w young talent than just about any skipper in mlb! So what if they don’t like him!?!

        More i get into the details of baseball the more I see the impact of a manager. Price tries to win every game vs building for future and the team has manifested a loosing attitude under his leadership. He’s a very bad fit vs giradi is worth paying as much as reds would ever consider paying a manager. Even if it’s sacrificed payroll money. They should have fired price the minute Yankees let giradi go and threw the kitchen sink at him. Now they will have to compete w every other team looking for a manager next season for giradi. Or worse- price manages good enough to go ge him another year

      • Doug Gray

        All I can tell you is that the New York Yankees front office thought that he didn’t communicate or handle his interaction with the young players well. And that teams tend to believe communication between the manager and players is very important.

        You can not tell me that Girardi gets first class performance out of his players. That his players performed does not mean that. Likewise, I can’t tell you that Joe Girardi got less than he should have out of his players. What we do know is that the players performed while Girardi was manager. We don’t know if it was because of him, or if it was because they are talented (though I bet there’s a lot more evidence throughout the history of baseball as to which one it actually is).

      • Wes

        Doug-it’s his job to get players to perform and on a consistent basis spanning some 15 years he’s gotten the most out of his players, yes I’m telling you that, but there is an abundance of factual evidence backing my claim. Judge and pitcher may have had the best season either will ever have and if so that would not surprise to many people. Same thing w a whole slew of marlins players. That team wasn’t very good. Give the guy some credit!

        I like him even more now based on what you say about Yankees front office. Sounds like he wasn’t liberal enough to keep his job. Liberalism is what caused reds to give away Chapman. Stay traditional!

        And by far, like #1 worse move is the sun compared to a burning candle at #2, retaining price and not going after giradi is reds worse move of year.

  5. Cguy

    Bombast me again if you will, but the Cingrani trade has to be included in the worst 3 moves of 2017. Since I believe the Reds took a step backwards in 2017 , 3 best moves vs 4 or 5 worst moves should be the format. Sending BP &$16M to Atlanta (when Hererra’s shoulder still wasn’t healthy) while being unwilling to make the $17.4M QO offer for Cozart has to be at least #4. Probably the Reds won’t have to reconcile those moves, unless they’re sitting across the table from say Suarez & his agent, trying to get a 5-6 year deal signed. By the way, #5 worst move is paring down the roster to 38 & then not drafting anyone in the Rule 5 draft (to keep).

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t think the Cingrani move, or not offering Cozart were bad moves at all. Getting rid of Phillips on it’s own, I don’t think was a bad move. I think they believed that Herrera was healthy. They were wrong on that one.

    • Colt Holt

      Would you rather have Brandon Phillips for 2017, or Scooter Gennett for 2017-2019? They clearly didn’t have that in mind when they dealt BP, but they had their eyes on moving forward. Part of that was looking at Pereza/Herrera with someone around to push them. When Gennett came available, they were able to capitalize. If they still had BP on the roster, there would likely not have been a place for Scooter. Even though they didn’t know who would fill it, DW is often referencing value. He seeks out upside plays, and BP was a roster spot not available to an upside play on our roster.

    • Daytonian

      At the time that the reds let him go, Cingrani had had it and was far from reliable. He was grooving pitches with no great variety. Cincy had his good years, and I’ll always love him for those years and for his fierce competitiveness. But it clearly was time for Tony C. to go. The Dodgers in the Series, much to their displeasure, discovered Tony’s propensity for the long ball.

      • Cguy

        Please look at Tony’s stats. At the ASB, Cingrani had very respectable stats. Then in mid-July for about 6 outings (all vs winning teams) he was pummeled. Then he had a good outing, was traded to the Dodgers, & resumed the same level of pitching performance for the Dodgers as he did for the Reds pre-ASB. Of course all stats count, but the slump Votto went through at the beginning of 2017 surely didn’t ruin his 2017 season, nor did the 10 day glitch in mid-July ruin Cingrani’s overall 2017 performance. Just in the latter case, the Reds gave up on a pretty good lefty reliever who will most likely be in the ML league for some time to come.

    • Stock

      If Phillips is on the team I don’t think the Reds pick up Gennett. Therefore, as it turns out the Phillips trade actually benefited the Reds.

      • Cguy

        The Gennett addition (off waivers from The Brewers) benefited the Reds. But they had no way of knowing about Gennett when they gave away BP. The reason for dumping Phillips (as presented by management) was to make room at 2nd base for Hererra. After having Dilson for over a year, they still didn’t know that his shoulder wasn’t sound & would need surgery. That constitutes a bad move. Even after they got Gennett the Reds didn’t project him as their replacement for Phillips at 2nd base. Scooter proved that he was clearly their best option at 2nd (even though it took a long time to convince Price.

  6. Joe Walsh

    The Reds make hilarious bungles every single year. It comes from the top down, they are an inferior organization, with inferior decision makers, coaches, owners and players. They are constantly grasping at straws, over matched, and out-witted.

    Every now and then, they get lucky, but there is no strategy or sustained vision for this clown organization. In some cases, they make panicked moves (Trading Chapman) in other cases, they hold onto players way too long, and over-value their return to void any possible deals.

    They traded Cueto, Frazier, Chapman and Bruce….For zero above average MLB baseball players. That, in itself, is a hilarious condemnation of this org.

    They also love veteran scrubs, who were decent 2-5 years ago. They like to bring them in on tiny contracts, and that is seen as ‘low-risk, high reward’ moves: Kevin Greg, Ludwick, Arroyo, Cairo, Marquis, Feldman, Schumacker, Rolen, Hannahan. Etc.

    They are an inferior team, who produces laughable results.

    • Doug Gray

      I think you may want to give a tad more time to guys like Finnegan, Peraza, Schebler and Herrera before going all-in that the returns on those trades were hilarious.

      • Joe Walsh

        When you have traded 4 of the ‘franchise core’ players, and that lot is who you’re hopelessly waiting to produce, I’d go ahead and call it hilarious.

      • Doug Gray

        I’ll just go ahead and caution patience with young players. Todd Frazier literally hadn’t played a single game in the big leagues at the same age that Brandon Finnegan is. Or Jose Peraza. Or Dilson Herrera. Not a single big league game. Brandon Phillips at the same age as Brandon Finnegan is today, was an absolute bust of a prospect never to be thought of again by many. He made Jose Peraza look like a good hitter by comparison.

        Maybe none of them work out. I’m not counting on much from the Chapman trade. Rookie Davis could be a solid reliever in the future. The other guys? Well, Brandon Finnegan and Scott Schebler have already shown to be quality big leaguers. Peraza and Herrera have things to prove. They are still both younger, significantly, than Todd Frazier was by the time he first stepped onto a big league field.

      • Stock

        I have not given up on Cody Reed either.

        Frazier was coming of back to back seasons of a 4.5+ WAR so they got less than they should have for him.

        Chapman deal was terrible.

        Bruce deal was probably a dud.

        Cueto was already struggling when the Reds traded him. I think it was a good deal.

    • Wes

      Are you an attention seeker ?

      Not a walt Jocketty fan but he for sure built a very competitive team and made a great run. Not luck by any means. Walt did tank the team w poor signing and trades after that but to say that’s who the reds are today is a far stretch.

      I for sure want to finish last every year than middle of the pack. If they are who you claim- I wouldn’t root for em

      • John Walsh

        Walt did not draft/acquire . Votto, Bruce, Mes, Cueto, Homer, Arroyo

        He traded away a star in EE for an over-the-hill shell of a 3B

        He Traded for Latos and Choo – Give him that

        He drafted miserably

        And he structured contracts, extensions and Trades in a way that handicapped the Franchise immensely.

        He also failed to acquire key players in their best seasons to help the team come playoff time.

  7. Gilbert Keith Chesterton

    I’d consider some of the draft picks as good moves for this year.

    • Stock

      Yes indeed. Great addition Gilbert. I think this may have been a fantastic draft. Early but early returns excite me.

  8. Piggly Wiggly

    Well, the Marlins are officially taking offers for Yelich. The Reds have the pieces to move to get him.
    Does Dick Williams have the wherewithal to bring Yelich to Cincinnati?
    Do you trade Hunter Greene to get Yelich?

    • Doug Gray

      I would not trade Hunter Greene to get Yelich. I don’t believe the Reds would either. I do believe that many fans would. I also believe that the Reds have long been in touch with the Marlins about Yelich.

      • Bill

        Let me caveat this point with I think Hunter Greene is a bigtime talent—probably the highest upside on the farm. But he also comes with huge risk. Pitchers just seem so prone to injury. Senzel and Trammell seem much safer, and have star potential, even if not the elite star potential that Greene has. If Miami insist on one of the three, personally, I think the Reds should walk away. But unless the Reds are willing to take on some bad contracts, I don’t see the Marlins cutting a deal without one of those 3.

    • Wes

      San Fran has pieces too w Ramos and pick 30 something. I’d do that for sure if I’m San Fran and may be best offer ?

      Trammell and whoever it takes to get it done then parley that into a Ramos deal w San Fran

  9. Redsvol

    Great points Doug but I would drop the Cozart non-move (because I’m glad he wore a Reds uniform that much longer) and add the retention of Price as a top 3 bad move.

    A pitching “guru” should have been able to get more out of our pitching talent (even taking into account all the injuries). I also think he should have been able to manage the outfielders playing time better so that Ervin and Winker would have gotten more time without being forced to do it when Schebler got injured.

    • Doug Gray

      It’s no longer Bryan Price’s job to be the pitching coach. And you can’t coach against guys being on the DL. I do think Price mismanaged plenty during 2017 (and before, for that matter). I don’t put much of the pitching failures on him, though.

    • Eric

      You are glad cozart was not traded for any value, because he played in a few extra meaningless games for a 90+ loss reds team?

      Curious logic. You sound like Bob Castellini

      • Doug Gray

        I’d argue that having Cozart at shortstop, defensively, helped out some of the young pitchers in August and September. And that isn’t without value. Of course, I still think it would have been more valuable to have moved him if they could have – hence why his non-move made my list. But, I do think there’s an argument to suggest that he provided some value even in “meaningless games”. They may not have had meaning towards the playoffs. But they could have had meaning in terms of future development.

  10. AMDG

    Would it be fair to say that Christian Yelich is comparble to Shin-Soo Choo, in that both were about 115 OPS+ outfielders with 15~20 HR and 15~20 SB and don’t stay healthy for a full season? Choo got on base a little more, but otherwise, they seem like adequate comps.

    I think the Reds got Choo for DiDi Gregorious + Drew Stubbs. So couldn’t they get Yelich w/o emptying the farm?

    • Doug Gray

      I think Yelich is better, at least coming in. Similar offensively, but Yelich is better in the field.

      The difference in acquisition price, though, will be huge. Choo had 1 year on his contract. Yelich has 5. And those 5 years are at bargain prices for what he’s expected to produce.

  11. Piggly Wiggly

    The 3 good moves are on the mark. Unfortunately, there were no good moves to rank that occurred during the season between Scooter’s waiver claim and Barnhart’s detention.
    Plenty of bad to choose from. Next year we may say letting Deck McGuire get away by becoming a free agent to sign with Toronto was a bad bad move. I thought he merited a 40 man roster spot and here the Reds now sit with two open spots.

    • Doug Gray

      I wasn’t exactly thrilled with letting McGuire go, but in no way will I ever look back and say that waiving a 28-year-old with 20 big league innings was a “bad bad move”.

  12. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    Can i argue that the Arroyo situation was one of the three best moves of the season? Without that, we have no Hunter Greene in the fold.

    • HavaKlu

      The Draft order was set based on 2016 results and had nothing to do with pitching Arroyo.

    • Stock

      I think you can argue this RedsKoolAidDrinker. But as HavaKlu states Hunter Greene was ours with our without Arroyo.

      However, with Arroyo taking starts and Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson in the minors the Reds gained another year of control of both Reed and Stephenson. This was something I pushed for last off-season on this site and everyone else felt that ship had sailed. Because of this the Arroyo acquisition was a good thing.

      Not signing Cozart last winter was a mistake. Not offering Cozart arbitration was a mistake. Drop Arroyo and add those.

      • Your 3rd Grade Teacher

        Thinking that Cozart was eligible for arbitration is a mistake.

        Stock….you should brush up on the basic, elementary terminology of baseball.

      • Stock

        you are right. I should have said qualifying offer. My guess is you knew what I meant though.

  13. DX

    I think there were some poor decisions throughout the year by Price. When the team was obviously out of the race, Winker and Peraza were on the bench. Why? If they knew Peraza was going to be the next SS he should have played there every game in September. I think they gave too many starts to pitchers who were not going to be helping the club in the future years I know Arroyo was on your list but there were others too. I get it if it is to save the bullpen or help the younger players stay in AAA, but the year before they started a rookie the last 50 games.

    It sounds like they want to be good in 2019 yet they still are not all in. I know this isn’t really a one time move but feel the team failed where the goal should have been to get answers from future players.

    • Stock

      As I said above, keeping Stephenson in the minors in favor of Feldman, Arroyo, … is a good thing because they gain a year of control.

      Maybe Peraza was on the bench because they were hoping to sign Cozart.

  14. Jim Delaney

    Number one worst move:
    Bringing back Bryan Price, who for two seasons in a row has lost 94 games. He has clearly shown he’s not good at develop g players, especially pitchers and has no handle on effectively using his bullpen.
    Second, was keeping Tim Adelman,, in 40 man roster and letting Deck McGuire be exposed by not keeping him on 40 man roster.
    Third, was not sending a message to Michael Lorenzen and sending him to the minors and letting him start. He was ineffective most of 2nd half, didn’t seem to have any energy on mound..Reds kept throwing him out there in high leverage situations….
    Best three:
    Drafting Hunter Greene
    Drafting Hunter Greene
    Drafting Hunter Greene

    • Stock

      I agree that not placing Deck McGwire on the 40 man roster was a major error.

  15. Shamrock

    Not taking advantage of the Rule V Draft:
    Remember the name Max Pentecost.

    • Doug Gray

      Rule 5.

      And every team in baseball passed on him. They probably know more than we do – and it’s probably directly related to his inability to throw the baseball anymore because his shoulder sounds like it’s trashed.

  16. Reds4ever

    Idc what anyone says. Demoting garrett was stupid. Doug 7ks and 11 walks before he got sent down who cares. He was getting guys out and they were winning. The day he got sent down he went 6 innings 2 runs against the giants. And all I remember was a W and a well pitched game

    • Doug Gray

      Let’s not forget the 5 home runs in that span, either.

      Teams are process over results oriented these days because they understand that it’s the process that leads to better results in the long run. When you are getting incredibly lucky, which Garrett absolutely was at that point, is it better to wait until luck catches up with you, or to get in front of it because you know that walking a lot more guys than you strike out and giving up home runs at a very high rate is not a way you will keep finding success? You seem to think that it’s better to wait until the luck runs out. The Reds, and just about everyone else in baseball seems to think it’s better to say “this isn’t going to work – let’s fix the problem before the problems start leading to poor results – which they will in a very short amount of time”.

      • Reds4ever

        My thing is. You’ve never probably played baseball a day in your life. You don’t ruin a players momentum, lucky or not. He was getting the job done. Explain what happened when he went down? Everyone in baseball said he should of never went down. He was the best pitcher in the rotation at that time. And you send him down? It was a dumb decision. Very dumb. Now everyone is writing the kid off. Can’t wait to see what he does in 2018

      • Tong

        Dude. Playing baseball till you were 17 does not matter. Everyone did

      • Doug Gray

        I think that “you never played baseball” and playing through high school are quite a bit different. But, hey, I’ve been wrong before. On a different note, at least this is you using a 4th username to comment on the site in the last three days (though I guess technically you could be using a shared computer with three other dudes).

    • Andy

      I think the Reds handled Garrett wrong. I know there were service time reasons to send him down, but that should have been handled out of spring training. If he started in AAA, with Stephenson or Reed taking his spot on opening day rotation, he could have been called up to drop Arroyo after 2-3 weeks. It would have been be an exciting move toward the future. Instead, Garrett excited the fan base and had to be sent down for obviously financial (not on-field) reasons that made it clear to fan base that the management was willing to screw over both Garrett and the fans for that extra year of control. Perhaps the rest of the season would remain disappointing for Garrett, but it sure feels like the demotion hurt his psyche and performance. This one choice may have fixed 2 of the 3 of Doug’s worst list, and I’m more disappointed by the handling of Garrett than of Cozart. (Honestly, seeing Cozart sign for less than $40M somewhere other than Cincinnati would make my top 3.)

      • Doug Gray

        I’m far more willing to buy into the idea that it was a bad idea to start Garrett in the Majors for service time than the idea that he deserved to stay up when they did send him down. He was not pitching well at all when they sent him down, even if the runs hadn’t gotten out of control yet. But I think his hip injury had far more to do with his performance than the team sending him down did.

      • LeRoy

        If I remember correctly, the Reds said they were sending Garrett down to limit his innings. I thought this was a stupid way to do this. I feel it did hurt his confidence and he never recovered. The worst move of the year was to bring Price back and make him manage to keep his job instead of going with the plan of developing the youngsters for the future. I would think that he should have been told his job was not to win unless it was with using players that make up the Red’s future.

      • Bill

        Amir Garrett does not lack confidence; he’s bounced back from every disappointment throughout his time in the minors. Whether it was for service time, innings limits or predictive analytics,

        That said, if being sent to the minors, even after being told in spring training it would happen at some point, negatively impacted his psyche to the point of hurting his performance, how do you think he would hold up in a pennant race or a playoff game? Give Garrett some credit for the maturity, confidence and aggressiveness he’s displayed as a pro.

  17. Brad

    Not sure the exact date, but replacing Walt Jocketty with Dick Williams has been the best thing the Reds have done in 2017 (or slightly before.)

  18. Matt McWax

    I think the good moves were more valuable than the bad moves were costly. We can’t know the offers for Cozart that were declined but I don’t think a real impact prospect could have been on the table if a deal wasn’t done. The other two bad moves are mere annoyances in the grand scheme of things. Scooter’s production may sadly get wasted. In a contending year, his production last season could have been a final piece.

      • Stock

        I should have said giving Cozart a qualifying offer (instead of arbitration) would have garnered the Reds another real prospect.

      • Doug Gray

        I’m not sure it would have. It would have given them basically, a 3rd round pick. Their 3rd round pick last year isn’t a Top 25 prospect in the organization for me right now.

      • Stock

        Heatherly didn’t make your top 25. But he did make the top 25 on my list, Duke’s list and Norwood Nate’s list to name a few. I would not be surprised if he is in your top 15 next year.

        Miles Gordon was a 4th round pick and is inside your top 15. Shed Long was a 12th round pick and is inside your top 10.

        Signing Arroyo was the difference in Stephenson becoming a FA in 2023 instead of 2022. That turns into a great move. Putting Stephenson in the bullpen to start the year did not make sense but maybe they did it so he would have time to work on control or something. I don’t know.

        I have no problem saying the Arroyo signing was a good move. I don’t see the Stephenson move to the pen as good or bad. What I do know is Stephenson was a much better SP after his stint in the BP than he was before.

        They messed up with Cozart. Plain and simple. If he accepts the qualifying offer all he needs to be worth his contract is a WAR of 2.5. And i say he is worth it just because his defense helps our young pitchers develop and gain confidence. I don’t care what his WAR is.

        The handling of Cozart from April = November was a mess.

        They really screwed up with Deck McGwire too.

        I would replace the last two on your list with these two.

        I also really like Gilbert’s idea of the draft making the top 3 but it is really hard to argue with your top 3. Draft is deserving of an honorable mention (if the draft is eligible for this list).

      • Doug Gray

        Yes, some guys taken after the 2nd round eventually wind up on the prospect lists. But those aren’t the guys you are acquiring. You’re acquiring non-Top 25 caliber prospects with those picks if your system has some depth to it. It’s not nothing, but it’s also not something to really be too concerned about. Same with McGuire. I’d have kept him around. I’m not fretting about losing a 28-year-old with a handful of innings in the Majors, either. It’s not nothing. But it’s also not something.

      • Stock

        I agree with you Doug. Neither mistake was a huge mistake but both were errors in my opinion. Worst case scenario with Cozart is that he rejects the qualifying offer and moves on and we get an extra pick after the 2nd round. Best case scenario he accepts and we get a competent defensive SS when our young pitchers need one most, early in their development. There is no downside to adding McGwire to the 40 man roster.

        Three positives to signing Arroyo assuming you consider 2017 a lost season.

        First, the Reds finished 2 games behind the Mets. Had Stephenson/Reed or someone else started the season in the rotation this may not have happened. Granted one spot does not make a huge difference in the draft but it is a positive.

        Second, with Arroyo in the rotation for half the year, the Reds gained control of both Stephenson and Reed for the 2023 season. Something that people on this site said would never happen last winter. This is pretty huge.

        Third, it pushed Stephenson to the bullpen. I know you have this as one of the three mistakes but I don’t think it was. I don’t know what happened in the bullpen. Was it a wakeup call? Was it something he learned in his outings? Was it conversations with coaches obtained only because he was in the majors? I don’t know. I don’t really care. What I do know is that after having a career ERA > 4.50 in AA and 4.30 in AAA he came back to Louisville and kept his ERA below 4.00. Then in his last 10 outings in the majors his ERA was about 2.50. Would this have happened had he not in the bullpen.

        I can see the argument that the Arroyo trial was a negative but I see it as a success, especially for reason two above. I also see the move of Stephenson to the pen as a plus. Was that an important part of his progression this year? I have no clue. But he has been struggling for years and something seemed to have clicked last August.

        I just don’t view 2 of your 3 poor decisions as poor decisions. Rather a means to gain a year of control for Reed and Stephenson for one and part of Stephenson’s development for the other.

  19. Cguy

    Just can’t swallow Doug’s comment about the compensation pick the reds would have gotten if Cozart had turned down the QO the Reds didn’t make. Because Cozart signed for less than $50M, that compensation pick would have been after the 2nd round, say about 70-75th. Let’s just take a look at the 40 man roster of say, the WS champion Astros. They currently list 43 players (3 FA). 11 of those players were international prospects not drafted. Twelve more were drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. the latest drafted of those 12 was picked @ 64th. So just under half (20) of the players on arguably the strongest ML roster were drafted 3rd round or later. Five players were drafted in the 3rd round(& some pretty good ones). I would argue that Houston constructed a large part of that World Championship Team after the 1st 2 rounds of the draft. So could the Reds. Every pick is valuable & many picks in that 70-75 range are talented players.

    • Doug Gray

      The odds that a 3rd round pick is ever even a Top 10 organizational prospect aren’t good. It’s not nothing, but it’s also not worth losing your mind over (not saying that you are – but I’ve seen some people that have).

      Since Chris Buckley took over the draft for the Reds in 2006, here are the 3rd round picks for the team:
      Chris Valaika
      Scott Carroll
      Neftali Soto
      Zach Stewart
      Donnie Joseph
      Devin Lohman
      Tony Cingrani
      Dan Langfield
      Mark Armstrong
      Wyatt Strahan
      Blake Trahan
      Nick Hanson
      Jacob Heatherly

      Things started out real nice with the 3rd round picks. Five of those guys saw MLB time. Four of them were in the first three years (Carroll and Soto were from the same year). More than a few of them turned into Top 10 org prospects, too.

      I haven’t looked at the Astros roster in depth. How many of those guys came from other organizations? Because if most of them did, it’s not really telling us much. Of course there are going to be guys past the 3rd round that make it. But it’s not likely that one organization is making a habit out of it. And guys drafted there before the system went into a slotting system are tougher to peg because you could pay them very differently than you can today. The days of grabbing an Amir Garrett in the 21st round are long gone.