Matt’s take | defender of the people
La Piedra at the Space Needle
After such a poor start to the 2022 season, it was more than expected for Cincinnati to part ways with many familiar faces within the organization. After seeing Tyler Naquin head to the Mets earlier in the week, the domino effect was quick to follow. Luis Castillo was the Reds’ ace in recent years and showed nothing but true professionalism and love for the game during his time in Cincinnati. Chaos and shock swept through the league and ‘knocked home’ with the entire Queen City, as news broke that Castillo had been traded to the Seattle Mariners. Luis will join forces with former Reds Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker as the Mariners push for a playoff spot and more.
Before we dive into the journey of the players Cincinnati has received in this trade, a look at one of the Reds’ best pitchers of my life is more than due. Luis Castillo has spent the past six seasons at 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, while posting some very impressive stats in a batting-friendly ballpark. Every season his ERA was 4.30 or less and he was a National League All-Star in two different seasons. Despite a few minor injuries, Castillo has put together a very impressive 2022 campaign and looks like one of the top five pitchers in all of baseball. It’s the best I’ve seen Castillo in his career and I can’t wait to cheer him on throughout the Reds season.
It’s a shame that Cincinnati could never go further than they did by having such a star player wear the “C” on his chest every five games. While his stellar presence on the mound and his ridiculous change will be remembered by many in our dugout, his love for the game and his smile no matter the situation is something I hope many young players will try to imitate the most.
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Although my article is finished before the end of the deadline, the Reds are definitely going to be involved in more deals. Coming home from work and cooking my dinner, I was shocked to log into the game and notice that Tommy Pham had been scratched from the lineup. A quick refresh of my Twitter feed showed that Tommy Pham had been traded to the Red Sox for a player to be named. Pham won’t be the last Reds player to be traded and I sincerely believe letting Pham go was the right decision. Promising him the “three holes,” power decline, and off-pitch antics were enough for me to really be okay with letting him go. I will miss the hustle and bustle he displayed and truly respect him as a player, but finding him a home and getting his money “off the books” was the right thing to do, no matter who we got in return.
While parting ways with Luis Castillo, Tommy Pham and Tyler Naquin was tough for Cincinnati, the return should put us in a much better position to compete for years to come. Seattle traded Cincinnati a “load” of players, including their No. 1 prospect in their organization. Shortstop Noelvi Marte, shortstop Edwin Arroyo, pitcher Levi Stoudt and pitcher Andrew Moore were all sent to the Reds. Many people across the league said it was quite a blow for Cincinnati, as they managed to get three of Seattle’s top five prospects. Marte has an estimated finish time of 2023 and holds a .282 batting average over three seasons. Arroyo, Stoudt and Moore also hold impressive numbers at such a young age. The Reds have also attracted other prospects, including a left-handed pitcher and an 18-year-old infielder from the trade of Tyler Naquin.
While it’s hard to talk about momentum in the midst of a time-limited sale and being 16.5 games behind, the Reds are really starting to gain momentum. In their last six series, Cincinnati has managed to win four, while sporting a series tie and a series loss. Jonathan India has proven he’s back, while slashing an impressive .344 with five homers in his last 15 games. Nick Lodolo continued to shine on the mound and Cincinnati even passed the Pirates and is no longer in last place at National League Central. If you ever want to explain to someone how weird baseball is, explain to them that the Reds have a winning record in interleague games for the first time in nearly 10 years in 2022. Although we have struggled all throughout the year, we somehow managed to be feared by the “almighty” American League East.
Anyone who wore Adidas shoes and enjoyed watching NBA basketball in the early 2000s remembers Allen Iverson’s coaching rant. This quote came to mind when I saw the Reds game this weekend, as well as the Bengals open practice session. Paul Brown Stadium (name for now, stay tuned) had seats packed, almost like they were having a game. The stadium’s lower bowl was full, as fans wanted to cheer on the Bengals and the anticipation for this season was building. 28,283 fans purchased tickets and watched this open practice. My mind almost can’t fathom that number, as the Reds have had more fans than four games away all season. Take Castellinis notes, because winning leads to good business.
With last season now a thing of the past, this last quarter will stick in my memory for quite some time. With the return of players speaking to the media again this week, it was nice to see some of the player feedback. The hold call will forever be on my mind as he essentially lost the Super Bowl, but one thing that many fans have forgotten is that Joe Mixon was off the court the last two games. Zac Taylor decided to go with Samaje Perine instead of his running back to end the Super Bowl and this week we finally got to see Joe Mixon thought he should have been in the game as well. He was certainly not negative towards the coach or the staff, but was completely sincere with his opinion.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and the “what ifs” add up quickly when it comes to a narrow loss in the biggest sporting event in the world. Holding calls, falling offensive lines and other “what ifs” will always live on in our minds, but this year is different. This year seems to be the year that Cincinnati is finally taken seriously and puts the league on notice because last season was more than just a