Keeping Up with the (Former) Cincinnatians
Photo Credit: Ryan Casey Aguinaldo, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Would the Reds have made the postseason if they had just kept the band together? It’s a tough question. On one hand, they were going to be relying on young, volatile, unproven players at key spots, and age had quickly seeped in elsewhere. If they were going to make a run at a title, 2022 was pretty much a final hurrah. On the other hand…
How about Luis Castillo throwing seven scoreless innings for the Mariners in the AL Wild Card Round? He obviously wasn’t turning the Reds into a contender by himself, but let’s not forget how unbelievable he’s been all year. Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez, too, have come up big for their respective teams in the postseason already. You can’t tell me they wouldn’t have made an impact in the win column.
It’s been a while, but it’s always good to check in on our former friends every once and a while. I’ve never actually seen "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," but I imagine there’s a lot of chaos, which perfectly mirrors the Reds 2022 season. This is “Keeping Up with the (Former) Cincinnatians,” where we get to see how their lives changed after leaving the Cincinnati shit-show.
The former Reds outfielder had all the flash and style you could ask for, but the front office had seemingly no interest in re-signing Castellanos after an All-Star and Silver Slugger campaign in 2021. The Philadelphia Phillies would scoop up the 10-year veteran, but things got off to a rocky start and manager Joe Girardi was fired after 49 games. Castellanos and the Phillies would regroup under interim manager Rob Thompson and clinch a wild card spot - Philly’s first postseason appearance since 2011. In Game One of the National League Divisional Series, Castellanos went 3 for 5 with a 2B, 3 RBI and made a sliding catch in the ninth inning to help maintain the 6 - 2 win over the Atlanta Braves.
4 out of 5 Kardashians
Another fan-favorite, Winker was sent packing along with Eugenio Suarez for a Seattle Mariner grab-bag of prospects. Winker was Seattle’s prize, but frankly, Suarez was the better player in 2022. After a monster ‘21 season in which he was voted an All-Star for the first time, Winker regressed badly, setting career-low marks in batting average (BA), on-base percentage (OBP), and slugging percentage (SLG). He is currently dealing with a neck strain and is not on the Mariners roster to begin the playoffs, though the Mariners did advance in the Wild Card Round.
2 out of 5 Kardashians
The real star of the trade, but absolutely no one thought so at the time. In fact, many believe that the Reds had to include Winker in the trade so that the Mariners would agree to absorb Suarez’s bloated contract, which looked especially brutal after he failed to get his BA above .200 in 2021. Suarez rebounded in a big way, bringing his BA up to a reasonable .236 and continuing to be the middle-of-the-order presence he was paid to be. So far in the 2022 postseason, Suarez has gone supernova, batting .462 with a mind-numbing 1.308 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).
5 out of 5 Kardashians
Though he wasn’t around long enough to make an outsized impression, Givens played an important role for the 2021 Reds as they hunted for that final, elusive Wild Card spot. Despite being the reliable, dependable, serviceable reliever the team desperately needed, the front office still felt content to allow him to walk in free agency. Givens would sign with the Cubs and was later traded to the New York Mets as they geared up for the postseason.
Unfortunately, Givens had a…shall we say, uneven postseason performance. In Game 1 of the Wild Card Round, Givens pitched a scoreless inning. That’s good! In the winner-take-all Game 3, Givens allowed a hit, a walk, and two runs to score in a third of an inning. That’s bad!
0 out of 5 Kardashians
When you sign a 30-year-old, career-backup infielder to a minor-league contract during Spring Training, typically expectations are pretty low. Not a soul expected Drury to be a borderline All-Star in 2022. Well, that’s exactly what he turned out to be. Go figure.
In his first 507 games as a professional, Drury hit 51 home runs. In 97 games with the Reds, Drury clubbed 20. Though he regressed back to his pre-Redlegs numbers once he was traded to the San Diego Padres, Drury was still a regular contributor to a team that reached the postseason for just the second time since 2007. He wasn’t much of a factor in the Padres series-victory over the Mets, but Drury did collect a hit in Game 2 in the NLDS versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, helping even the series 1 - 1.
3 out of 5 Kardashians
The Reds ace joined the West Coast Reds and continued his stellar play in a new city. Castillo was phenomenal in Cincinnati, and he was phenomenal in Seattle. In Game One, Castillo was dealing, striking out five over 7.1 scoreless innings. In two postseason starts in his career, Castillo has allowed one run over 12.2 innings with 12 strikeouts and one walk.
5 out of 5 Kardashians
Like Drury, Tyler Naquin was another innocuous free agent addition who blossomed into an everyday contributor in Cincinnati. With the Reds going nowhere in 2022, they sent him to New York where he settled into a fourth outfielder/pinch-hitter role. Sadly, he was unable to make an impact with the Mets in the postseason, as he did not make an appearance in the Wild Card Round as the team was upset by the San Diego Padres.
1 out of 5 Kardashians
O Tommy, you were gone too soon. You were a model citizen and an inspiration to children everywhere…who am I kidding? I’m glad the Reds punted him.
Signed at the tail end of spring training, Pham was mostly known in his brief Reds tenure for unsuccessfully trying to broker a fight with the Padres Luke Voit after a questionable slide that injured Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, and for successfully slapping the shit out of the Giants Joc Pederson over some juvenile fantasy football dispute. Pham was mostly the same in Boston as he was in Cincinnati - though tragically, both Pham’s Red Sox and Pederson’s Giants failed to qualify for the postseason, denying us all the magic of seeing Pham-Pederson II in the World Series…what a disgrace!
0 out of 5 Kardashians