The Cincinnati Reds 2014 season is over. While they aren’t eliminated yet, they are eliminated. Last night they lost 14-5 to the New York Mets. The team is 11 games back of first place. They are not making the playoffs. Even if the team were to win out, the odds still aren’t good that they would make the playoffs.
Yet in last night’s loss, the lone position player call up that was in the starting line up was older than Billy Hamilton, Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco and Brayan Pena. I have no problem with Jason Bourgeois getting playing time though. He should be given a look as a potential 4th or 5th outfielder spot for the 2015 Reds roster.
The problem that I have is more about the fact that he was the only call up getting a start in a meaningless game when it comes to wins and losses. I know that no one wants to lose. The players don’t. The manager doesn’t. Losing sucks. But this team is losing with the “normal” roster and losing a lot. There really is nothing to lose by playing Yorman Rodriguez, Donald Lutz or Kristopher Negron.
Next season will be the final option years for Donald Lutz and Yorman Rodriguez. Lutz has never gotten 60 plate appearances in a big league season despite spending months in the big leagues. Now is the time to play him. Yorman Rodriguez has played in one game. Now is the time to play him. Kristopher Negron should be fighting things out in the spring for a utility man role on the bench. Now is the time to be playing him.
Left field is open right now. First base is open right now. Shortstop and second base should be able to be played once or twice a week with how Cozart and Phillips have both performed at the plate this season. Jay Bruce could use a night off once a week as well to open up right field.
Play Donald Lutz at first base five time a week until the end of the season. He has NEVER started back-to-back games in the big leagues. He’s spent months at a time in the Reds dugout. Give him playing time on a daily basis. It’s time to see what he can or can’t do.
Play Yorman Rodriguez in left field four times a week and right field once a week moving forward for the rest of the season. He just turned 22 three weeks ago, but he will have to stick in the big leagues in the 2016 season. Get him playing time right now to better prepare him for the 2015 season.
Play Kirstopher Negron everywhere four or five days a week the rest of the season. Negron can play second, short, third or center field. Put him on the field.
Play Jason Bourgeois in left or center 2-3 times a week. Pinch run with him. Pinch hit with him. Find out what he can do for the team now rather than trying to figure it out next spring.
With all due respect to Chris Heisey, Ramon Santiago and Brayan Pena, we know what they can do and who they are on this team. We don’t need to gather more information on what they can and can’t do for the Reds. We know what the answers are on them already.
The Reds need to figure out the answers, or try to, on the guys they called up. They shouldn’t care about “playing regulars against contenders” or “sticking with the guys that have been here all season”, both things that Bryan Price has said over the past three days. Why should the Reds do things for other teams benefit? Do what is best for the Reds organization and let the Brewers, Cardinals and whoever else worry about their own organizations. The guys that have been around all year are well out of first place with no realistic chance of changing that. It’s time for another approach, at least in the short term that is the final three-and-a-half weeks of the season.