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Hartman: Maybe the Reds needed a couple of veteran starting pitchers after all?

Jeff Brantley made an interesting point during the Reds broadcast Tuesday night about the impact of signing David Hernandez and Jarred Hughes to stabilize the bullpen. 

Would bringing in two veterans have the same effect on the starting rotation? 

The former Reds closer thinks so, and obviously his opinion carries some weight given his experience and knowledge of the craft — not to mention clubhouse dynamics. 

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I was not an advocate of signing anyone in the winter because I wanted to see what the young guys can do, but maybe I was wrong. 

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(Several of them did finish strong last season.)

I’m a fan of upside and believe raw talent usually wins out in the end, but at some point you have to be able to get outs no matter how talented you are. 

Brantley went on to say young players learn better from veteran players than from coaches because they are peers and spend more time together. He also threw some shade at Homer Bailey, saying the team needs veterans who actually communicate with the young guys to help them along. 

Of course it’s easier to say they needed those veterans now since the first two months were such a disaster. 

Pretty much anything would have been better, right? 

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Even if the starting pitching had been decent from the start, they would be below .500 at this point thanks to the slow start for so many at the plate (since reversed) and the ongoing putrid defense and base running. 

Also there is the possibility that even if veterans stabilized the rotation and helped the club get back to .500, that’s all the farther they would be able to get without more premium arms in place. 

There’s no one way to build a contender, but it’s interesting stuff to think about. 

  

That discussion between Brantley and Thom Brennaman came from a conversation about the potential trade value of Hernandez and Hughes. 

The more I think about it, I would keep those guys unless I was offered something really phenomenal - like another Luis Castillo-type talent, not just a potential regular but someone with real star potential. 

Maybe that comes along. I tend to doubt it. 

At some point, the rebuild has to stop. 

Even the World Series champions need to open always to ways to improve the club, but you also can’t be constantly tearing down over here while building over there. 

Ask the Pirates how that worked out in the post-Barry Bonds years. 

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It’s become clear not all fans get the necessity of tearing down to rebuild, especially for a small-market team, and some painful decisions are always going to have to be made. 

However, at some point more of an investment has to be made at the major-league level to give fans something to believe in — and in this case to avoid again having a terrible bullpen if/when the starters finally come around. 

The best PR strategy is always to win. 

The best way to get good for a long time is to be bad for a little while, but every fan base has its limits. 

Reds fans seem to be understandably near, if not beyond, theirs, so it’s time to make some moves based on the present. 

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