Cincinnati Reds: David Bell needs to use playing time as a motivator

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 4: Manager David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds watches his team play. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 4: Manager David Bell #25 of the Cincinnati Reds watches his team play. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

David Bell needs to send a message to his Reds team.

Mediocrity can no longer be the standard for the Cincinnati Reds franchise. During the past six seasons, while the team was rebuilding, every fan, while frustrated, was waiting patiently for this thing to get turned around. Here we are in 2020 and nothing’s changed. It’s time for David Bell to use playing time as a motivator.

What in the world happened during the fifth inning? A walk to Freddy Galvis, the first hit of Mark Payton’s career and a base on balls to Tucker Barnhart loaded the bases with no outs and the Reds trailed by just one run. And then…

Joey Votto struck out looking at strike three – inexcusable. Galvis misread the single to right field by Nick Castellanos and was thrown out at home plate – embarrassing. And finally, Jesse Winker popped out to end the inning without Cincinnati crossing the plate – sadly, predictable.

It’s time for the normally mild-mannered David Bell, who was actually ejected last night, to get tough on his players. I don’t care who it is, how much money they’re making or what standing the player has with the fanbase; it’s time for Bell to use playing time as a motivator.

Galvis should’ve been pulled from the game immediately and replaced by Kyle Farmer at shortstop. That is the type of message that Bell needs to send to his team. If you make a mistake that costs your team a run and an out, you’re outta there.

Votto should be sat for tonight’s game against the Brewers. I highly doubt that Farmer, Matt Davidson or whoever they put at first base can do much worse than what we saw from Votto last night. The six-time All-Star put on the golden sombrero last night, striking out four times, and three times he didn’t even swing at strike three.

I’ve been very reserved with my criticism of David Bell. He appears to be a very relaxed individual who stands up for his players and uses analytics to define his managerial approach. Nothing wrong with analytics, as that’s now commonplace throughout baseball. I love that he sticks up for his guys. But, the placid attitude needs to give way to a temperamental tyrant ready to explode.

I think we saw flashes of that last night, as Bell was ejected from the game after confronting the umpire who ejected Joey Votto. That’s the type of fire I want to see from Bell, but instead of directing it at the umps, direct it toward your players.

A sense of urgency is seriously lacking for this team, which is comprised of more than enough talent to make a run at the postseason in a year where there are actually eight spots up for grabs. There is no excuse for this team not to make the playoffs.

Call up the young guys, Tyler Stephenson and José García, as they have to be better options than Tucker Barnhart and Freddy Galvis. Sit Joey for a game or two. At 36-years old, you’d think he’s seen everything this game has to offer. How about a few games with the view from the dugout?

Give Shogo Akiyama a chance to prove himself. Why is not leading off and in the lineup on a daily basis? Option Travis Jankowski to the alternate site. The Reds are not getting on base enough to justify a roster spot for a speedster. And for goodness sakes, please bring Aristides Aquino up to the big leagues. Why is last year’s August Player of the Month toiling away in Mason, Ohio?

Next. It's time to move on from Barnhart

There you go Reds fans. See what this team has driven me to? I’m normally one who always views the glass as half-full, but this year’s team has given me no alternative but to see the glass as half-empty. It’s time for David Bell to light a fire under his team and it starts with holding players accountable and using playing time to do it. No one has an automatic spot in lineup. No one!