The most commonly-associated word when it comes to the Reds these last three years or so - aside from "rebuild" and "lost" has been patience. As in we as fans need to exhibit some patience with the team as the people in charge of it put in motion a plan that will - hopefully - ultimately yield a winner.
Yet it feels like a lack of patience is the main reason why Jesse Winker has been bumped from the Reds' oddly-conceived four men/three spots outfield rotation.
Kinda hypocritical isn't it?
The team that's always begging for our patience just ran out of patience with a guy that many have considered to be a major piece of the team's future. Jesse Winker is now a bench player because he had a bad month. Not a bad few months, or a bad half-season, but a bad month.
That one bad month, despite the fact that none of the other older, more-established outfielders are producing with any regularity, has banished Jesse to the bench.
Because the team preaching patience can't practice it.
There's so many things wrong with this, from the fact that it continues to feel like the Reds are making things up as they go, to the way it looks when an interim manager is huddling with the new GM and the old GM, leaving fans to wonder who's really in charge. (C. Trent Rosecrans reports that Nick Krall, Walt Jocketty, and Buddy Bell are with the team on their current road trip.)
There's no satisfactory explanation for the Reds doing this, not if the idea behind this season is to evaluate the guys that stand the best chance of being here when we're no longer being asked to be patient.
Winker's game has its deficiencies, for sure. But can he address them while playing sparingly? If they were going to have him not start regularly at the big league level, wouldn't it make more sense to have him in the lineup every day in Louisville? And if the idea is to play Adam Duvall more often in an effort to establish some kind of trade value, ask yourself if you were running a contending team, would you want to give up anything for a player that's closing in on 30 and is still trying to put together a full big league season of consistent production?
The only solace you can take from this is that this maneuver is evidence that the Reds aren't tanking, if the suggestion that they are bothers you. A tanking team allows its best, most promising players to play as much as possible while assuring them that regardless of their level of performance, they're not going to be moved out of the lineup or benched. A tanking team isn't going to disrupt a plan in an effort to steal a few more meaningless wins. A tanking team exhibits some patience.
I'd have some patience of my own with a team that was tanking.
Instead, I'm going to be asked to be patient with a franchise that can't practice what it preaches.
Here's some stuff...
I wrote this for The Athletic...
Before Wednesday’s game in Phoenix, Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman announced that his team’s four-man outfield rotation is on hold, saying that Jesse Winker is “the odd man out.”
The decision paid immediate dividends. Two of the outfielders that started the series finale against the Diamondbacks came up big. Adam Duvall crushed a grand slam that tied the score in the fourth inning, then Scott Schebler hit a two-run homer of his own in the sixth that gave the Reds a 6-4 lead.
Schebler also made a nice running catch while playing right field, and the Reds won on getaway day, 7-4. The victory improved their record to 20-37 and allowed them to stay within 16 games of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.
Then why is the benching of Winker such a frustrating development?
Read the entire piece here, would ya?
An NBA Finals that's both good and bad for the league starts tonight. It's good because these are the sport's two signature teams, with its more polarizing, recognizable, interesting stars.
It's bad because its result seems like a foregone conclusion.
I like the Warriors in five, mainly because I find it impossible to believe that the Cavaliers can defend them for any stretch of time. Nor do I think a one-man team, as great as that one man is, can outscore an opponent that has four of the top 20 players in the league.
Let's use last year's Finals as a guide.
LeBron James averaged, in five Finals games, 32.5/12/10. He was magnificent throughout the series, and offensively, so was his team. Three Cleveland starters shot higher than 54 percent. The Cavaliers averaged more than 114 points per game. Kyrie Irving put up more than 29 points per game.
The Cavs still lost, comfortably, in five.
So let's assume that LeBron is as good as he was in last year's Finals in this year's Finals. Who makes up for what Irving did last season? Do Cleveland's starters play as well as they did a year ago? Can they really hope to extend the series beyond what it went last season when they're not as good, not as deep, and facing nearly the same exact squad that scored 121 points per game in the Finals a year ago?
I'm rooting for LeBron, because him taking this team to an NBA title would be one of the best stories in sports history, a complete (although un-needed) validation of his entire career, and something that might be unmatched in the annals of the NBA. If this series goes six, he should be the MVP.
Warriors in five.
The NHL Stanley Cup Final has been fantastic television. I'd elaborate on that, but everytime I write about hockey, hard-core hockey guy on Twitter gets mad at me for not watching hockey every day of the year.
But yes, it's been awesome.
Here's some other stuff, all of it really worth your time...
Inside the NCAA's years-long, twisting investigation into Mississippi football.
From the Bench to the Booth: The Path Journeyman NFL Players Take to Broadcasting
Analyzing Sal Romano: Tucker Barnhart explains what the algorithms don’t know
In an exclusive Q&A, Commissioner Rob Manfred discusses pace of play, expansion, betting (sorry, Pete) and more
Baseball Therapy: Walking Away From The Shift
I listened to this podcast this morning. You should as well...
Radio Show: Evan Newton of FC Cincinnati is with us at 3:33. William Jackson of the Bengals is with us at 3:42. We will talk about Jesse Winker, and we are picking the country that we're rooting for during this year's World Cup. The fun starts at 3:05 on ESPN1530.
I delivered a lawn mower and some tickets today....