We know the Cincinnati Reds have been ‘rebuilding.’ We also know that ‘rebuilding,’ in the most obvious way, also means ‘losing.’ Sure, there are plenty of aspects of a rebuild that don’t involve playing terrible baseball - reloading a farm system, getting younger players experience, freeing up payroll to allow for later reinvestment, yadda yadda - but the fact of the matter is that shedding good, veteran baseball players to do all of that means a whole lot of losing.
Sooner or later, that has to change. Or, the people in charge have to change.
In Monday’s press conference to announce new manager David Bell - the result of a managerial change, no less - team owner Bob Castellini repeatedly said ‘we’re going to get the pitching,’ to a point where it specifically stood out to The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans.
Talking to Bob Castellini, I asked if there would be 'record' payroll next year and he said 'Absolutely.' Mentioned it wouldn't be a small number. Also asked about free agency, trades. He answered only, 'we're going to get the pitching.' He said that several times to several q's— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) October 22, 2018
Emphasizing one thing and one thing only is often done at pressers, as Bill Belichick once made famous with his ‘we’re on to Cincinnati’ blanket response to reporters questions. It’s a pretty clear example of a person who has a singular focus, at the minimum. It seems to me, at this point, that ‘we’re going to get the pitching’ might well be the one thing that Castellini believes is missing from a decent Reds team (now that Bell is in the fold), and that’s the one thing left to do to get this rebuild built.
Of course, it’s not hit job to do that. It’s his money, but not his job. That job falls in the laps of Dick Williams and Nick Krall as the folks atop the front office hierarchy. And, for the first time since all of this interminable losing began, it seems as if there’s finally some pressure, a singular ultimatum being placed on them to ‘get the pitching.’
In that regard, get the pitching appears to be a thinly veiled way of saying do some winning.
ESPN 1530’s Mo Egger seems to be getting that vibe, too, as he detailed both there and in full at The Athletic. There’s nothing imminent, or anything, but it does finally appear to be the first sign of pressure on the front office to get things right, at least that we’ve seen publicly. The Reds have previously received arms in great quantity via trades in attempts to get the pitching - Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb, Cody Reed, Jonathon Crawford, Anthony DeSclafani, Max Wotell, Rookie Davis, Caleb Cotham, Keury Mella, Luis Castillo, Carlos Portuondo, Andrew McKirahan, Matt Magill, Kevin Shackelford, Barrett Astin, among others - but given how bad collective group has still been when lumped in with the homegrown pitchers, it sure sounds like Castellini has reached the point of telling the front office to get the pitching now, and to get it right this time.
In other news, longtime Reds broadcaster Waite Hoyt is a finalist for the 2019 Ford C. Frick Award, as Matt Kelly of MLB.com notes. Hoyt, already a Hall of Famer for his pitching exploits, was the voice of the Reds for some 24 years from the 1940s into the 1960s.
Over at The Enquirer, Bobby Nightengale has some good insight from Dick Williams on what the franchise learned during the hiring process that netted them David Bell as manager, and it’s a pretty informative read.
Rosecrans spoke with Bell about his desire for the front office and dugout to work more in-tune with one another while he’s on the job, and touched on a number of interesting other topics - including the above quote about getting Bell some more good players. The Athletic article also makes note of the similarity in Bell’s hire to that of Alex Cora, Dave Roberts, Craig Counsell, and AJ Hinch, all of whom managed their teams to Championship Series appearances in 2018.
As happens this time every year, the Reds released another handful of minor leaguers, and Doug Gray has that list covered.
Finally, FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel explored the franchises most likely to win the next five World Series, with a thorough examination of their current roster, future rosters, farm talent, and financial resources, and settled on ranking the top 7 contenders. Without giving too much of a SPOILER ALERT on whether the Cincinnati Reds get a mention, I’ll just say that the Milwaukee Brewers - fresh off getting one game from the World Series just this year - didn’t even crack the top 7. Such is life in Reds world this decade.