Thursday, September 03, 2009

Baseball Thoughts

Another lost season kept me away in August. Hey, at least it lasted that long. Here is what you may have missed.

-The Reds need Scott Rolen to stay healthy. I know that is like asking PacMan Jones to stay out of strip clubs or Brett Farve to stay retired but it is true. The Reds are 11-4 when he has played, all 4 losses coming to playoff contending LA and Colorado. If he stays healthy next year, an enormous if, the Reds could be good. Unfortunately, here are his total games played the last 5 years: 56, 142, 112, 115, 102, and probably about 120 this year. He also turns 35 around opening day next year. I hope he stays healthy because his OPS+ has still been 107 and 118 the past 2 years and his defense is an A-, much better then anyone playing third since Chris Sabo. I am not optimistic he can stay off the DL though.

-Dusty has completed his dismantling of the once promising starting staff. Volquez had Tommy John Surgery and is done until late 2010. Cueto is on the DL and has not been himself since May. Harang, who was ruined last season in the 18 inning San Diego game (the game that revived this blog), was ruined on almost the exact same day this season when Dusty sent him out after a rain delay of over two hours in order to get one more out, and thus a win. He was 5-4 with a 3.36 ERA at that point. After, he was 1-10 with a 4.80 ERA and his OPS against has jumped 100 points. Awesome. Now he is done for the season because his appendix burst. I bet he did it to himself in order to avoid Dusty's torture. If Homer Bailey is smart, he will lay low until Dusty is gone or he is a free agent. Save yourself Homer!

-The Reds field a minor league team every day. Currently, the Reds are starting 2 players that would actual start on a contending team, Votto and Phillips. The other 6 are bench/role players or rookies who have potential. Dusty loves role players and cast offs. Reminds him of where he will be next year. If you were the manager and the season was clearly lost, wouldn't you play the rookies to let them learn? Wouldn't any sane person? You would think. But you would be wrong. Dusty played Willy Taveras and his 45 OPS+ at the top of the order up until he got hurt. Alex Gonzalez and his 43 OPS+ continued to play and bat second until he was traded. Now that they are gone, Dusty has been forced to play Janish, a defensive whiz who is starting to hit better after Dusty sat him for all but 3 games in July and killed any confidence he had, and Drew Stubbs, who is another defensive whiz and should start everyday in 2010. Other then that, it is pretty boring. Injuries have been everywhere. I'm sure that is what Dusty will blame. Good teams overcome them, bad teams blame them. Guess which one the Reds are?

-There is still a chance the Reds could get to 4th, or even third place. They currently sit 3 games out of 4th and 4.5 games out of third. They have 6 games remaining against the Pirates and 6 against Houston. Take 9 of those 12 and it could happen. Lose and maybe Dusty will get fired. Then again, maybe not.

Another post later on the return of football.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I can't resist

O who am I kidding, I love this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Almost made it to August

Well the Reds managed to hang around until nearly August. Not bad. Usually June is the last month to care about the team but this time they managed to make it a little longer. While still only 5.5 games back, they sit in 5th place. They would need 4 teams to tank worse then they have already and that ain't happening. Not long ago I wrote that the easy part of the schedule was over and they would need to pick it up or be left in the dust. That was before Albert Pujols ended the Reds season with one swing of the bat. Since he hit that grand slam, the Reds are 5-12. Barring a 6 game winning streak, the Reds will once again be sellers at the July 31st trading deadline. Maybe next year.

If they are trading players, here is who they should get rid of:

David Weathers-He has been above-average since joining the team which is better then most thought. His last 4 seasons with the Reds he has put up an ERA+ of 132, 130, 139, 149. Would be a nice get for any contending team looking for an extra arm in the bullpen. I wouldn't mind keeping him around but he is a free agent at the end of the year so we might as well get something for him now.

Arthur Rhodes-Has an amazing 264 ERA+ and 0.99 WHIP. Left handers are hitting a ridiculous .118/.193/.137 for an OPS+ of -5. That is unbelievable. Any team needing a LH reliever would be hard pressed to find one better then Arthur. Should fetch some nice prospects.

Bronson Arroyo-Always thrown around in trade talks, his recent scoreless streak has certainly helped. Any team needing a reliable starter would want him. You know what you are getting and he does have postseason experience. The only hangup could be his salary which has 2 more years at 10 million per. A big market team wouldn't flinch but mid to small market teams can't add that money. Depends on how desperate teams get.

Aaron Harang-I keep hearing his name but I don't think it will actually happen. He is a staple here in Cincinnati and is making a nice chunk of change at 12 million per year. It would take a strong offer to make a deal and I don't see any team that desperate right now.

As for the rest, Cordero makes too much money at 12 million per year and none of our position players are good and available. Maybe Hernandez before he got hurt but not now. I imagine the Reds will move one of the relievers by July 31 and maybe Arroyo after. You have to remember the July 31st deadline is a mirage. Players can be traded until August 31st if they clear waivers and with this economy, most non-superstar players will clear. Dunn and Griffey were both traded after July 31st last season. Look for more movement in August. Until then, let's whip the Cubs this weekend just to shove it those obnoxious fans' faces.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Took a bad turn in June

Finally that month is over. The Reds limped through it. Now they face a pretty daunting July and unless the offense improves, it will be the nail in the coffin.

Thanks to a crappy division, the season isn't over yet. The Reds are only 2 games behind the Cardinals for second and 4 behind the Brewers for first. Somehow they are still leading the Cubs by half a game. Shows how bad they have been. Let me show you the gory June stats first, then I will show that the upcoming schedule makes it likely that the Reds will plummet if they continue at this pace.

June stats

-As a team, the Reds went .229/.300/.349/.649 for an OPS+ of 78 and good enough for dead last in the majors. Let me repeat. DEAD LAST IN ALL OF BASEBALL. To put it in perspective, Alex Gonzalez has a career OPS+ of 78. The entire team was a weak hitting SS for an entire month. Wily Taveras had an OPS of .375. That should be is on base percentage, NOT his on base percentage PLUS slugging. Alex Gonzalez was .488. Hariston was .537. Hernandez was .597. You get the picture. Those are Corey Patterson numbers and loyal readers know how I feel about Corey.

-How did they go 11-15 in June? I wondered the same thing. It wasn't really the starting pitching either. Their ERA was at the bottom of the pack at 13th in the NL and WHIP was 15th. Arroyo had a 6.82 ERA and the Maloney/Volquez/Bailey combo was about 6.00. The relief pitchers were certainly an asset, posting the 2nd best WHIP and 4th best ERA in the NL. That has been the strength for the past few years. Another big factor, defense. According to UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) the Reds are the 5th best defensive team in baseball(#2 in the NL). Last season they were 27(#15 in NL). But defense can only go so far in one month. What is the real reason? It all came down to the schedule. The teams they played just weren't good. Cleveland, Washington, and Atlanta are pretty bad. The best team they faced were the 4 games over .500 Blue Jays. Unfortunatly, those easy days are over.

July schedule

-The Reds have 2 more games against lowly Arizona. Need to win those because it may be a while until the Reds get another one. The final 10 games before the All-Star break are home for 3 with STL, 4 @Phi, 3@NYM. All 3 of those teams are over .500. After the break, the Reds host Mil for 4, go for 3 @LAD, then 3 @ CHC. Those teams are a combined 25 games over .500. The last games of the month consist of 4 at home to the Padres, the team that swept the Reds in May and one against the surging Rockies. WOW. If the team from June plays those 27 games as they did the previous 26, they won't go 11-15. They will go 2-25.

-the only reason for optimism is this: Votto is back and rounding into form. Edwin is on the brink of a return any day now. Volquez is back throwing after a setback and could rejoin after the All-Star game. Also, could they really hit any worse? I don't know if it is possible and I shutter to think what it would look like if they did. The easy part is over for the Reds and the made-or-break month is upon us. Let's get the starting pitchers back on track and the bats on fire. Otherwise, it turns into "Wait till next year."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Turning point

The Reds have reached a turning point in the season. They have managed to stay at .500 while Votto, Edwin, and Volquez have been on the DL. Now it seems that Votto will return tonight, Edwin is rehabbing in Louisville and Volquez should be ready in 2 weeks. Now is the time for the Reds to make a run. They have a series at Toronto, at Cleveland and home to Arizona. 6-3 is the goal for those 9 games because the final 10 before the All-Star game will be tough. The Reds host 3 against St. Louis, then travel for 4 at Philly and 3 at the Mets. A 5-5 split would be great but very difficult. This makes the next 9 a necessity. Let's review what has happened the past few weeks:


Ryan Hanigan. Since Joey began to have his issues in May, Ryan has started 30 games and has put up a .312/.397/.385/.782 with only 9 K's in 109 PA's. He seems to be improving and is at the top of the NL in almost all rookie categories. This should ensure him more playing time once Votto returns and Hernandez is available. Not so fast. Dusty seems to think Hernandez will go back behind the plate and Hanigan will be on the bench. Awesome. Dusty does it again.

Bullpen. The bullpen has been amazing. Weathers, Rhodes, and Cordero have been unhittable. Masset showed he is human by allowing a few runs but he has still been well above average. These 4 guys have allowed the Reds to win some close games that, in years past, the Reds would have blown. It is nice to not be nervous in the 7th-9th innings.


So many let me just run through them quick. The big 3 of Taveras (44 OPS+), Gonzalez (45 OPS+), and Rosales (51 OPS+). That is 3 terrible bats in the lineup almsot every day. 38% of the lineup is pitiful. How did they win any games? Cueto has given up 5 runs in the past 2 games including blowing a 5-0 lead against the White Sox Saturday night. Matt Maloney was a nice story but in his 3 starts he is 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA and 73 ERA+.

Outlook: The Reds have reached the turning point. They are 34-34, 17-17 at home and 17-17 on the road. They either turn it on and get 4 or 5 games above .500 and in place to make a run at the postseason or they falter, lose 4 or 5 in a row and become sellers after the All-Star break. I hope getting healthy will lead to a run.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Treading Water

A sweep in Milwaukee, DL trips for our 2 best players in 2008, could it get any worse? I sure hope not. Right now the Reds need to tread water and stay above .500 until they get healthy. Votto is gone for at least 2 weeks, maybe longer. No one is saying what the stress-related, personal issue is but it sounds bad if they won't say what it is. The Reds have said it is related to his dizziness from earlier in the month. Volquez pitched one inning in his return before going back on the DL with tingling in his fingers, probably related to the back spasms that put him on the DL originally. That would mean a month without last years best position player and best pitcher. Thank goodness for Phillips' tear in May, going .352/.392/.682/ with 7 HR and 29 RBI. Another player that has been coming up big is Ramon Hernandez. He is currently at .282/.346/.380 for an 88 OPS+, but hit .313/.383/. 419 with 19 RBI in May as well. As I write this the Reds are leading the Cards 3-0 in the 3rd. If they can win tonight, they are assured a split in St. Louis before returning home for 3 against he Cubs. They should be 28-24 after tonight, thus assuring at least .500 after the next 4 games. Let's hope they can stay in the 3-5 games above for the next 2 weeks until Votto and Edinson return. Then they can really turn it on.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Get the Reds Out

-The Lebrons are on the brink tonight. The refs have tried to get them to the finals (see Lebron's bailout with .5 seconds left in game 4) but even sympathetic officials can't make Mo Williams stop sucking. I think Cleveland wins tonight then loses Saturday night. Even Stern can't make Cleveland beat Orlando 3 times in a row, especially given that it took a miracle shot for the series to even be continued past game 4. Too bad. I like watching LeBron run over and dominate.

Kobe and the Lakers got the Stern treatment last night. LA got 55 questionable calls and Denver got 1. At least one large market will make the finals. I guess The Rapist is not a bad second fiddle now that The Chosen One won't be there.

-I recently entered the twitter universe. You can follow me at I am an instant fan now that I found out how to use text messaging to send tweets.

-Hope everyone saw the Champions League final yesterday. Barcelona is the best team in the world and they proved it by dismantling Manchester United, the Yankees of soccer, 2-0. The game wasn't even that close as Barcelona dominated the final 80 minutes after Man U played well the first 10. The French put up a better fight against the blitzkrieg then Man U put up against Barcelona.

-I am delighted with the news coming out of Lexington, KY recently. First, the basketball team fails to make the tourny, then flames out in the NIT before the final four. They fire their coach and hire a highly controversial coach. Then, a star football player gets busted using performance enhancers and gets suspended for his final season. I am sure he just forgot to check with the trainer even though he was told 1,000 time to always check. Then yesterday came the big guns. Billy G sues them for the full buyout clause of 6 million dollars. Funny how when he was coaching, he had a contract. Now that they fired him, he didn't have one. He will probably get close to that amount in a settlement because UK has other fish to fry right now with its new coach. John Cheataperi's former team will probably lose its final four and 38 wins because Derrick Rose had the SAT taken for him and a friend got some free travel. This would be the second final four Caliperi has had to forfeit, making him the most decorated coach in that department. Congrats Cat fans, your coach finally has something over Pitino. I have a feeling this isn't a coinsidence. He will take down UK just like he took down UMass and Memphis. Couldn't happen to a better group of fans. What is the line, be careful what you wish for......

Off day thoughts

-Big sweep for the Reds. They are now 26-20, 1.5 games back of the Cards and .5 games back of second place Milwaukee. Today is an off day before 3 games at Miller Park and 4 at Inbev Stadium. HUGE TRIP. I like Jay Bruce's confidence when he said "We’re coming home in first." I am not so optomistic until we make sure Harang is alright after Dusty's stat stuffing move to send him out after a 2 hour delay and Edinson returns healthy and is not overworked. I know I will be watching most of the next 7 games, hoping the Reds continue the strong play.

-OK pick one for your All-Star 1B.
Player A-.360/.467/.632/1.099, 37 G, 10 2B, 8 HR, 33 RBI
Player B-.318/.450/.637/1.087, 46 G, 8 2B, 14 HR, 40 RBI

I like player A, some would like player B. Either way, it is a tossup.

Player A=Joey Votto
Player B=Albert Pujols

If the game were not in St. Louis, I think Joey would have a shot. Unfortunately, MLB will ensure Albert gets the start in his home park. Hopefully Joey will get the backup job. The crazy Canuck deserves it.

-Johnny Cueto is currently #4 in ERA+ with a 194 and Aaron Harang is 13th with a 137. Who would have thought the Reds would have the best 1-2 punch in the NL Central? And Volquez isn't one of them. If he gets back to last year's form, they will have the best 1-2-3 in the entire NL. Would be nice to have come October.

-Non Reds post coming later....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oswalt once again

Reds killer Roy Oswalt(24-1 against he Reds) takes the mound tonight to stop the Reds streak. After a rough series against the Phillies last week, the Reds turned it around to win 3 of the past 4 games including taking the battle of Ohio against the Indians. Here is a quick roundup of how the season has gone and what to look forward to.

Record: The Reds are 24-20, 3rd place in the Central and 2.5 games behind the Brewers for first place. They are +7 in run differential which puts their record right about what you would expect a team with that difference to be. Two games remain against the 'Stros before a pivital 10 game stretch, 3 in Mil, 4 in STL, and 3 at home against the Cubs. Should be a fun few weeks to see how the team will handle the big strech of games, most in tough surroundings.

Batting: Joey Votto is leading the NL in batting average. That includes everyone, Ty Cobb Pujols and all. Jay Bruce has found his power stroke having already hit 12 homers. The rest of the team are hitting and getting on base, with Alex Gonzalez the only regular player who has an OBP under .335. He started awful but has begun to find his swing which could be a big lift. The bench is also hitting, with Nix, Gomes, and Rosales all hitting well in limited roles. Phillips learning to take a pitch has helped improve his OPS+ to 110. Other then the hole at SS and lack of power at 3B(.329 slg) and LF(.331 slg), the bats have done better then expected. The new acquisitions have been doing very well with Hernandez having a .295/.363/.388 and 94 OPS+ and Taveras .274/.335/.348 and 77 OPS+. Taveras has stolen 12 bases while only being caught twice. Both have played above average defense and have proven to be solid everyday players.

Pitching: The strength coming into the season has held strong. The pitchers have all been solid, even with an injury sending Volquez to the DL and Arroyo having his annual blowup game. The Reds are 3rd in the NL in ERA+ and 5th in WHIP. The bullpen has only blown one save chance and, for the most part, kept the Reds in the game. Lincoln has been terrible all year and Burton has yet to find his form but the rest of the team has been great, including Masset, the pitcher acquired last season for Ken Griffey Jr.

Outlook: The Reds are in great position. They are 4 above .500 after 44 games, the best in a while. The upcoming 2 weeks will determine a lot. My prediction: Dusty finds a way to screw it up and the Reds fall back to .500. I hope I am wrong but I think I am right.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Back

It has been a pretty eventful few weeks for me. Derby, marriage, honeymoon. You know how it goes. Now I am back after not following the Reds for a while. Nice to see them still competitive. I will have more analysis as the week goes on but suffice to say I am glad that the Reds are 3 games above .500 after 37 games with Philly, Cleveland, and Houston coming to town over the next 10 days. Above .500 is needed and 7-3 would be great. Be back soon...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Get the Reds Out

-So Rajon Rondo gets to give Brad Miller an eye rake as he goes for a layup and gets no suspension. Are you serious? And people wonder why no one cares about the NBA. It is fixed. Boston needs to advance because their bandwagon brings viewers and dollars. So Rondo gets to play after a blatant foul while Dwight Howard gets a suspension for an elbow. Too bad no one cares about the Magic. They need a bigger bandwagon in order to get him out of it.

-The NFL draft was this past weekend, one of the most overrated things ever. These players will not see a real play for 5 months and half will not contribute for 17 months yet it is poured down our throats for months. Sorry, don't care. Call me when any of them contribute during a real game.

-Speaking of the NFL, the Bengals are going to be on HBO's Hard Knocks. This is going to be awesome. Marvin with a clueless look on his face, Chad being an ass, and everyone else trying not to let the cameras catch them doing something illegal/getting arrested. How did it take this long?

-Nice to see someone parady the ridiculousness that is Judd Apatow. His movies are funny but, seriously, those guys would NEVER land those girls

-Finally, Greatest. Website. Ever.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rough, boring weekend

Well the Reds started losing some close games. Who saw that coming? Oh wait, I did. The Reds dropped a close one Friday and a close one Monday while splitting blowouts over the weekend. Now the Reds need to win at least one of the two remaining games against the Astros or they will fall below .500.

The game Saturday was great to attend but bad to be a Reds fan. Arroyo was crushed and the offense never got going except for A-Gon's flyball/homer. The wind was blowing out to left and that ball carried a good 25 extra feet. That was the difference between an out and a homer. Didn't matter in the end thanks to Chipper and the boys crushing the ball. Still, 85 and sunny was a great day at the ballpark. Also, beer prices have dropped which was a welcome sign. $5.00 for a small beer is better then most sporting venues. Beer and baseball, can't complain about that.

Not much else going on. The Kentucky Derby is coming up and I will have a pick for you later in the week. Maybe a Get the Reds out tomorrow.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kind of confused

Who was that team in the Cincinnati uniforms this past week and a half? Couldn't be the Reds. They don't win on the road. They don't beat division opponents and they certainly don't win all 3 series on a road trip. At least not since 2004. I guess this is a different team, and hey, different is better then boring.

I am not getting too worked up over it though. They are still getting very lucky by winning close and losing big. These things tend to even out. But for now I am riding the wave. Atlanta comes to town and the Reds are expecting large crowds this weekend at Great American Small Park. I will be there Saturday to watch the Lowe-Arroyo pitchers duel. Ok mostly I will be there for the 80 degrees, but seeing some winning baseball won't be bad. I haven't been to a game when the Reds were over .500 this late in the year since 2006. Should be fun.

OK, a quick Reds heavy analysis so far thanks to the amazing This team is lucky. O wait, I already said that. They are 2 games above where they should be according to runs scored-runs allowed. Their .229/.317/.357 put them second to last in the NL in batting average, 3rd last in OBP, 2nd last in slugging, and second last in OPS. Those are dreadful offensive numbers. The other pitiful offensive teams, SF and ARI, have 6 wins each, which is where the Reds should be. You are probably asking why aren't they. Here is your answer: Joey Votto and Pitching.

-Votto has been amazing this season. I saw this coming two games into the year but now it has become apparent that he is for real. And not just in the "Hey the Reds have a player who doesn't suck" mode. He is turning into the left-handed Albert Pujols. Ok, not that good, but still. Through 15 games he has a .373/.431/.644 for a 169 OPS+. It is not quite Albert's .345/.459/.724 for a 202 OPS+ but Joey doesn't have the bloodlust of Albert either. Joey's 15 RBI's are 4th in the NL, behind Albert of course, but for a run-starved team like the Reds, it equates to 53. He has improved his D (where else could it go) and become somewhat of a leader in the clubhouse. 7 more years like this and he will be the left-handed Albert Pujols.

-The pitching has been great. A few starters have had some tough games(Volquez, Owings) but for the most part, the Reds pitchers have kept the team in the game. That is essential because they will not score many runs, so if a starter allows more then 2 runs, the game is probably over. Thank goodness most have kept the other hitters at bay for the first 5 or 6 innings then handed it over to the stellar bullpen. Burton and Lincoln had some bad innings but Weathers, Rhodes, and Cordero have been phenomenal. I feel confident when either of them come in from the bullpen. I can't remember the last time I felt confident when a Reds reliever entered. Ok, I did fell confident when Danny Graves came in but that confidence was in the fact that he would throw a batting practice fastball to lose the game. Slightly different with this group.

Overall, the pitchers have a 115 ERA+, which puts them 3rd in the NL. It is a little deceiving because their 1.432 WHIP puts them 10th, meaning they are allowing a lot of walks and hits but leaving them stranded. Those numbers usually even out and if they do, expect the ERA to go up. For know, we will call it good fortune and hope it continues. Seeing the Reds with good pitching is certainly a treat.

The Braves arrive sitting at 7-8, 2-7 in the last 9 after a great 5-1 start, and needing a strong weekend to catch up to the Florida Smoke and Mirrors. Yes, the Marlins are 11-4 but that is thanks to a 6-0 record against Washington and a 5-4 record against everyone else. I would hold off on the Marlin playoff tickets for now. Should be a fun weekend and hey, the Reds are guaranteed to be at or above .500 for all 3 games. Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Now its on to Chicago and let's win there," plus a food update

OK an RFK quote may not be the best. Especially when it was his last public statement before dying. Let's hope this isn't that last quote before the Reds season dies.

After winning the weekday series in Milwaukee 2-1, and a weekend series in Houston 3-1, the Reds stand at 7-5 and 5-2 on this 10 game road trip. Three games remain on the trip before the Reds return to Cincy for a weekend series with the Braves. Let's hope the luck continues.

Why do I call it luck? The Reds are 2 games above .500 despite being outscored by 10 runs. Teams that have a -10 run differential after 12 games should be 5-7. How have the Reds done it? Of the seven wins, only one has been by more then 2 runs. Of the five losses, three were by 6 or more runs. So either the Reds win close, or lose big. Usually those close games balance out and when they do, the Reds record will nosedive. Let's hope the bats wake up before that happens and a few blowouts can keep the Reds above .500. More in depth statistical analysis will come later in the week as guys gain more AB's but, suffice it to say, without Votto, this team would be Nationals-esque.

Food Update: OK, the chicken and hamburger helper have been put on the back burner this year but a new favorite has emerged. It is the slow cooker or crock pot. It is amazing. All you do is throw in a chuck roast, chicken breasts, or other large meat product, a few spices and seasoning, and some liquid for flavor and cook it on low all day. Come home 9 hours later, cook some rice and the meal is done. I suggest it for anyone who doesn't like to cook because it takes too much time. This takes 2 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes for the rice when you get home. Here are a couple quick recipes:

Chuck roast with a can of cream of mushroom soup.
Chicken breasts, barbeque sauce, and chili powder. Makes spicy BBQ chicken.
Pork tenderloin rubbed with any strong seasoning. and a little Teriyaki or soy sauce.

Rice-a-Roni always work with it.

Finish it off with a beer and a whole meal is done.

You're welcome.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boose Having A Great Spring

So we've learned only a few things in this early part of the baseball season:
1) The Reds will do their best to tread water around .500 for most of the first half of the season. This will lead us to some false hope and a dream that a late season move will put us over the edge. This late season move will not materialize and we will fade into bolivian at the end.
2) It is very hard to post on the Reds when you do not get the games on TV. I'll rectify this shortly so I can have some thoughts beyond "the box scores are interesting and I'm sure Dusty screwed something up"
3) I did watch opening day and the Harangatang (why hasn't that nickname taken off?) looked pretty good. The dynamite announcers at ESPN did have this gem of analysis. On the Reds profile, they had a section "Key Questions for 2009 Season" and their big question "Can someone set the table at the top of the lineup"... really that is all that separates the Reds from a playoff appearance "setting the table". I'm convinced they just reused last year's and didn't bother to up date it. I mean that analysis is terrible, but if we had Grif, Dunn and Bruce in the middle of the order then it makes sense. Now, who are they setting the table for and with Dusty around who believe setting the table with walks is a waste of time, what is the point?
4) The real story of the early part of the season is the way Boose has been able to Crank out posts. He is on quite a streak and we all hope he can keep it up. I'm here to provide some support and hopefully can pick up the pace, but nice to see FDB off to a good start this spring.
5) Will post something dedicated to the golden age of television later. Suffice to say, I need to delve into my thoughts on RR/RR Challenge, High School Reunion and The Cougar. All three deserve more space than I can dedicate at the moment, but stay alert.

I know this may not make me cool, but the joke from How I Met Your Mother last week just floored me. Not sure if you saw it, but they just gave you the set up and then you needed to look it up online. What is the difference between peanut butter and Jam?

Punch line is amazing. Well until next time, Go Reds!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Get the Reds Out

No Reds. Here are some off topic thoughts and link.

-The NBA season begins from most people as the playoffs start. I don't care about the regular season, mainly because the players and coaches don't, but the playoffs are exciting. The Cleveland LeBron's should win it. He is very good and the refs will give him every call. Seems pretty obvious.

-Golf goes into its lull now as the Masters is over and the U.S Open is still 2 months away. I don't understand why they do this. They have the Masters, which is always great, then take 9 weeks off before the next big tournament. Why? So people can forget about it. Tennis does this with the Australian Open then a 5 month break. Why wouldn't a sport want its marquee events spaced fairly close to each other, say 4-6 weeks apart? It would keep interest for a week or 2 after and a week or 2 before the next one so the lull doesn't seem as bad. Makes sense to me. I guess golf and tennis are satisfied with playing 9th fiddle for long stretches of the (now that there is no football) dull sports season.

-I am so glad I'm not associated with these people. God I hate Cubs fans.

-No more STEPHEN A SMITH! O wait, no one cares.

-A Red Sox fan gets it. I knew I wasn't alone.

-Seinfeld, the porno? I have a feeling someone will get a junior mint in an unwanted part of the body.

-And finally, Bruce Pearl rapping. What a tool.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reds go for sweep

Get out the brooms. The Reds are looking for the sweep of the Brewers and their 4th win in a row. Right now, the Reds sit at 4-3 and are above .500 for the first time since April 11, 2008. Most of that is due to their patience at the plate. The bats have done nothing, sitting second to last in the league with a .222 batting average, but the walks have boosted the team's OBP to .342, right in the middle of the league at 8th. I have been screaming for the past year that being patient, taking walks, and working pitch counts, would lead to wins. The Reds have done that and have won. Seems so simple. Maybe they should have listened to me earier.

Now if Dusty could just realize A-Gon is awful at the plate and needs more rest. Hairston should start in his place because he is great at the plate and will get hurt soon so we might as well use him while we can. Dickerson needs to play everyday, whether against a RH or LH. Give him a chance before making him platoon. He has earned it.

Let's hope for a sweep and continue it down in Houston against the 1-6 Astros this weekend. They have been terrible sitting at a -27 run differential, worst in the major league. These wins against Central opponents are essential.

Off day tomorrow so probably a Get the Reds Out here at FDB.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter all. Feel free to break out the Seersucker. I wonder if the Reds will wear something like this:

The Reds finish up against the Pirates this afternoon. Last night they got crushed and scored all of 2 runs. A struggling offense, who saw that coming? Let's hope they can pull out a win today to get to 2-3 before the first road trip of the season, 10 days to Milwaukee, Houston, and Chicago. These are three big series' against division opponents. Escaping two or three games above .500 is essential if they want to be contenders in the Central.

In the pregame for today's game, Dusty casually said that if his team were at .500 after 32 games, he would be happy. Excuse me? You play a ton of division opponents so a Reds win is twice as important as a win against the Mets. Division titles are won on the road within the division. I thought he was bringing a championship mentality and culture to Cincinnati. Hate to break it to you Dusty, but .500 teams don't win championships. You of all people should know it takes a few more wins then that having once coached a team that went 103-59 and didn't make the playoffs. What a joke. (Hat tip to Ben for catching that quote)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mets on verge of sweep

Well the first 2 games were interesting. Opening day went as I thought, good pitching, no offense and a 2-1 loss. The second game looked like the old Reds. Score a bunch of runs, give them back thanks to bad defense, then leave runs out there thanks to double plays and bad base running. I thought Dusty preached good base running and defense. That is why we got rid of our home-run, on base machine Adam Dunn. Sorry Dusty. It didn't work. We pissed away a good hitting day because of an error by Gonzalez, a non-error by Bruce that led to 2 extra runs, and a base running error. Not to mention some bad pitching by Mike Lincoln.

Let me breakdown the good and bad so far:

-Joey Votto's bat. He has been great and is hitting the ball very hard. 4-8 with a homer including a hit and a walk against Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the NL. He seems to have improved off his unbelieveable rookie year. I think the WBC really helped him. He got to hang out with Morneau and Bay for team Canada and learn about hitting. Also, playing in that playoff atmosphere has him ready to experiece that in the big leagues. Unfortuneatly. it will probably be for Toronto in a few years once the Reds trade him there.

-Brandon Phillips' patience. Don't look know because you may jinx it but BP has decided he doesn't have to swing at everything. He has walked 3 times in the first 2 games which is amazing for a player who has yet to walk 40 times in 162 games. Keep it up.

-Edwin Encanacion's patience. I can't comment on his bat seeing as how he is 0-5 but he has managed to keep it on his shoulder enough to draw 4 walks. Why the Mets have walked him when it is clear he is struggling to make solid contact is beyond me.

-Dusty Baker. You knew this one was coming. He put in Laynce Nix and Darnell McDonald before Wily Taveras when Wily was clearly healthy enough to play. He legged out a triple then scored on a sac fly. Doesn't sound like someone who is too sick to play. Letting those other 2 swing a bat when a capable, better player sits on the bench is inexcusable. Then again, so is allowing Carlos Beltran and his 118 career OPS+ to hit with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 1st base open. WALK HIM and let your great D turn the double play. Instead, Beltran singled up the middle for 2 runs, the 2 runs the Mets needed to win the game. Well done Dusty.

-Reds pitching control. 7 walks opening day, 7 walks last night. Granted, the Mets are a patient team but walking nearly a batter an inning is terrible. I know Dusty thinks it clogs the bases so he probably encourages walks but it doesn't clog anything. Only when it brings up the pitcher or creates a double play does it make even a little bit of sense. The Reds pitchers need to find the strike zone and find it now or it could be a long season.

The Mets go for the sweep this afternoon which shouldn't be to hard thanks to an injury to the statue that is Jerry Hairston. His totally foreseeable injury forces Darnell McDonald into the lineup again. Darnell is a 30 year old journeyman outfielder with a grand total of 45 ab's in the majors. He is not good at baseball. Glad he could start 2 of the first 3 games for the Reds instead of someone like Gary Sheffield or Drew Stubbs. Gary has his fielding limitations but can still hit and Stubbs has never been in the big leagues bit has shown promise and deserves a shot. Either one would be an improvement over McDonald and both cost the same amount of money. I guess Dusty felt that after trading journeyman Jeff Keppinger he needed McDonald to fill the "trys hard but can't really play baseball" void. Too bad David Eckstien wasn't available.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


OK, here are my sure-fire, can't miss predictions for the season.

AL East
-New York 96-66
-Boston 92-70
-Tampa Bay 83-79
-Toronto 78-84
-Baltimore 70-92

The Yankees have the best team and can weather the injuries because they have the money. A-Rod will be back and give the team a boost through the summer and the pitching will round into form. Boston will be good again and will save its energy for the playoffs once they realize they won't win the division. Tampa will come back to earth and the Blue Jays will have a fire sale at the trading deadline when they are out of the race. Baltimore is bad and will continue to be for a while.

AL Central
-Chicago 87-75
-Cleveland 85-77
-Minnesota 83-79
-Kansas City 76-86
-Detroit 70-92

These teams are very close but I think the White Sox will pull it out. Ozzie is insane but seems to win and get the best out of his pitching. Cleveland has too many guys that need to bounce back when all signs point to regression. Minnesota would have been my pick if not for their best player Joe Mauer being injured and having no timetable for a return. The Royals are the Royals and the Tigers have no spark and seem to be going through the motions until they sell off the team.

AL West
-Anaheim 90-72
-Texas 84-78
-Oakland 72-90
-Seattle 68-94

The Angels are still the best team. They have great pitching and can feed off the rest of the division. Texas has improved hitting but their pitching is abysmal and will continue to hurt them. Oakland and Seattle would be decent if this were Triple A. In the major leagues, they are bad.

NL East
-New York 93-69
-Atlanta 88-74
-Philadelphia 82-80
-Florida 76-86
-Washington 67-95

The Mets are the best team in the lesser league. The pitching is good but the offense is excellent. Reyes, Wright, and Beltran are three of the best players in the NL and will carry them to the playoffs. No collapse this year because their lead will be too great. Atlanta should bounce back after a tough luck season last year. Philly will fall back to earth because they aren't as good as they were last October. Florida and Washington are nice farm teams for the big boys and will trade away their best players when they realize their teams are hemorrhaging money.

NL Central
-St. Louis 91-71
-Chicago 89-73
-Cincinnati 84-78
-Milwaukee 81-81
-Houston 75-87
-Pittsburgh 68-94

I still don't trust the Cubs. Everything went right last year for them from Dumpster's career year to Edmonds curious resurgence. The Cardinals, on the other hand, had everything go against them last year and still managed to be near .500. This year, they get more then 6 innings from the former Cy Young award winner Chris Carpenter and win the division while the Cubs will eek out the Wild Card. The Reds will be better simply because the rest of the division isn't as good and the young players are a year older. The Brewers don't have CC and Sheets which will put them back to mediocre. Houston and Pittsburgh are terrible with no hope in sight.

NL West
-Los Angeles 89-73
-Arizona 85-77
-Colorado 81-81
-San Francisco 79-83
-San Diego 68-94

The Dodgers are the easy favorite but I think it will be closer then some think. Manny will not hit like Ted Williams and the rest of the division is catching up. I think Arizona makes another run at them while Colorado and San Fran will be frisky. San Diego is awful and will hit rock bottom once they trade Jake Peavy and anyone else they can unload this summer.

-New York beats Chicago
-Boston beats Anaheim

The two best teams should play in the Championship Series. Boston and New York are the two best teams money can buy.

-New York beats Chicago
-Los Angeles beats St. Louis

I like what L.A did last year in dismantling the Cubs in the playoffs and I think the Mets rotation is too strong in a short series.

-Boston beats New York

The Sox have the playoff experience and can match New York in every other area. Boston gets bored during the season which is why the Yankees will win the division, but the Sox will turn it on in the playoffs and win the pennant.

-New York beats Los Angeles

The better pitching should win out and no one is better then Santana. New York's offense is not one dimentional like L.A.'s and will power them to the World Series.

World Series
-Boston beats New York

Hey why not? If I pick the Sox and they win, I look smart. If I pick them and they don't win, I am happy. Sounds like a win-win.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Opening Day is here

Finally, baseball is back.

The Reds begin the season today as they host the New York Mets and Johan Santana. Should be a good game. Nothing says baseball like 40 degrees and snow showers. Just what you need to shake off the rust from 5 months off.

The roster was set yesterday with Micah Owings winning the battle for the #5 starter and Homer Bailey being sent down to AAA. Tough break for the kid but Micah has more experience and it was encouraging that both pitched well. Giving Homer a bit of a break to keep his innings down is not a bad thing either.

In the field, Laynce Nix and Darnell McDonald made the team, both a bit of surprise. Johnny Gomes played excellent but was optioned to AAA, meaning he could become a free agent or go down to Louisville. McDonald made the team because he can play CF and with Willy Taveras sick, it was more out of necessity. Paul Janish is the backup SS, mainly due to his very good glove and not his 36 OPS+ bat.

Here is the opening day lineup, with McDonald in there because of Willy's sickness:

Hariston, LF
McDonald, CF
Votto, 1B
Phillips, 2B
Bruce, RF
Encarnacion, 3B
Hernandez, C
Gonzalez, SS
Harang, P

I think the Reds will lose this game because, well, they are facing Johan and their offense is pretty bad. I am interested to see how the defense is because that was one of the main areas of so-called improvement this offseason.

I will post later today with my predictions for the divisions and playoffs.

Here's to another great season. Go Reds! Fire Dusty!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Get the Reds Out

Sorry I missed last week. I have been busy at work getting things done because I am heading to Vegas on Thursday. That's right. Conference tourny weekend in Vegas, staying at Cesar's Palace. Can't wait. Here are some quick non-Reds thoughts as Spring Training and the WBC plod along. One month until opening day and real baseball. Let's go:

-Congrats to my Cards for winning the Big East Championship outright. 16-2 in the hardest conference in college basketball history is amazing. Because they are the top seed they are scheduled to play Villinova in the semis and avoid Pitt and UConn until the final. A tournament title or even a run to the finals should get them a #1 seed, something they haven't had in 25 years.

-Memphis is riding the wave of a terrible conference and are up to #3 in the latest polls, even receiving first place votes. If they get a #1 seed in the tourny, I could see a #16 upsetting them. I have seen the Tigers play a few times recently, against UAB and Houston, 2 teams that would finish in the bottom 3 of the Big East, and they were not impressive. They lost most of their leaders from last years team and the young players are prone to mental mistakes. Be careful before putting them in the Final Four.

-The SEC is garbage. I know this isn't news to most people but I just think it needs to be said.

-This guy loves breakfast.

-Any advice for me this week in Vegas? I haven't been since the economy went in the toilet. Anything different, better, worse?

-And finally, it is good to be Dan Patrick. An Andrews girl on each arm.(Yes, Erin Andrews has sisters.)

- I

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reds links

-Well the first two spring training games are in the books and the Reds have actually scored a few runs. They beat the Rays 7-0 yesterday then fell to the Twins 10-4 today. Things will change soon when some of our best leave for the World Baseball Classic. Here is the list of players.

-Chris Dickerson is filming videos for USA Today. He seems like a smart kid who reads Marketing Strategy books and started his own website for environmentally conscious players. Hey, at least it is better then being a drunk, degenerate athlete. takes a look at the Reds and compares them to the 2008 Rays. There are some similarities. Jonny Gomes comes to mind. Other then that, I don't really see it but CHONE projections has the Reds at 82-80. I would take that for now and that is much smarter then me.

-Maybe Taveras will be better then some think. I think he will be better then most think. He can't be any worse then this man.

Back with more tomorrow and probably another Get the Reds Out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Get the Reds Out

Some quick thoughts while wondering who this is possible:

-Another HUGE night in hoops. The marquee matchup comes in the Big East where UConn travels up to Canada Lite (Wisconsin) to take on Marquette. Vegas has it as a pick 'em. I have to go with Marquette. They are a veteran team with great guard play and have the home court advantage. Also, it is Ash Wednesday which is kind of a big deal at a Catholic University such as Marquette. How can you go against God?

Elsewhere, Duke goes up to College Park to take on the Turtles, who beat UNC last weekend. Should be a close game until the refs make some questionable calls and Duke with by 5. But hey, they get to reminise on the glory days in a few weeks. Also in the ACC, Clemson faces a desperate Virginia Polytech. I don't really plan to watch seeing as how both would be somewhere between 6 and 9 in the Big East but in the end, Clemson will pull it out. The best team no one is talking about, Mizzu, plays K State at 9. Mizzu should whip them with ease as they get closer to a 2 or 3 seed. The conference nobody cares about (SEC) features two elinimation game meaning the loser will have ahard time making the tournament. One has the UK Mildcats heading to Columbia to face to USC Jr. Gamecocks (The real USC is in L.A.) The other pits Mississippi State against the second best basketball team in Knoxville. Both should be close because all the teams in the conference are middle of the road so I will take the two home teams, the Vols and Gamecocks.

-Eat this Reggie Miller and your 8 points in 10 seconds.

-For my colleauge who hates the idea of a salary cap, someone else thinks it wouldn't be a bad thing.

-Champions League is back in the round of 16. First leg yesterday and today with the second legs coming in a few weeks. The way it works, for those who don't know, is each team gets one home game and at the end, the aggregate score winner moves on. If it is tied after that, whoever scored the most away goals wins. If still tied they go into two 15 minute periods. If still tied then shootouts. Let me give you an example. Team A wins the first leg at home over Team B, 2-1. In the second leg, Team B must win by at least 1 goal. If they win by 2, they will win on aggregate. If they win 1-0 they win beacause while the aggreagate is still 2-2, they scored an away goal and Team A did not. If Team B wins 3-2, they would lose because Team A would have score 2 aways goals to Team B's 1 even though they tied 4-4 on aggregate. If the score is an identical 2-1 game, they would move to extra time and possibly a shootout. Hope that helps. You could also go right here. Probably should have linked that earlier.

-Finally, from the so-your-telling-me-there's-a-chance department, it seems some benchwarmer married this girl:
Adriana Lima

We can all dream can't we.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The final position breakdown is here. In the past, this was one of our strengths. This season, not so much. But hey, we got rid of the lazy, homer hitting, on-base machines in the middle of the lineup and are faster and scrappier. So what if we don't score any runs. At least we are a bunch of Johnny Try-Hards who know how to bunt and run out groundball outs. Now if Dusty can teach them to swing first and never take walks, the transformation will be complete. Let's move on before I start throwing things and break it down by position:

Starter - Jay Bruce (.254/.314/.453. OPS+ of 96)

He turns 22 around opening day and will be at this position for years to come. Hailed as one of the best prospects in the game going into last season, he did not disappoint. His scorching start cooled as teams saw him a second and third time but he adjusted. After tearing up May and June with a .297/.348/.426, his July and August numbers went down to .239/.277/.421. After Griffey left and gave him RF as his permanent spot in September, he hit .256/.351/.573 which is amazing for a 21 year old rookie. I think his struggle in the middle months was inevitable because teams were adjusting to him but the way he came back in September was encouraging. He learned what it was like to be a major leaguer and having to change your approach to be successful. I expect a breakout year for him now that he has an everyday job and everyday position. He should go .275/.335/.470 with 25 HR's and 95 RBI's while joining Votto and Phillips as the young leaders of the team.

Starter - Willy Taveras (.251/.308/.296, OPS+ of 56)
Backup - Jerry Hairston Jr.

Last season was rough for Willy. He regressed in every hitting category from his '07 .320/.367/.382 but managed to steal more bases. He went 68 for 75 on the basepaths for an amazing 91%. Dusty plans on using him as the leadoff hitter, which is based purely on his SBs and discounts the fact that he doesn't get on base. He is moving from Coors to Great American which isn't much of a change and if he can just get on base, things could be good. His defense is average so there is not a loss there and he is still fairly young having just turned 27 on Christmas so improvment is not out of the question. I think he will benefit from the change of scenery and put up numbers closer to '07. If not there is always a replacement waiting.

Starter - ?
Backup - ?

This is the biggest crapshoot on the team. The Reds spent the entire offseason looking for an everyday right-handed power bat to go here. I had an idea. The team looked into Jermaine Dye. In the end, nothing happened. Now the Reds have a bunch of guys, none of which is a everyday power hitting right-hander. Most see the front runner as Chris Dickerson. He did great in his late season call up going .304/.413/.608, OPS+ of 160. Of course that was in only 102 AB's and they were the best 102 AB's he has had at any professional level ever, so I am guessing he is not the second coming of Albert Pujols. He is left handed and his OPS fell by 200 points against left handers so he is not exactly what the Reds had in mind. He is still a 26 year old rookie who can improve and deserves a chance to play everyday sometime just so the Reds can see what they have. I think he will make the team and platoon with Hairston until he gets his feet wet or Hairston gets injured. The other players up for this spot are Jaque Jones, Johnny Gomes, Lance Nix, and Norris Hopper. The first 3 are non-roster invites and there is a reason. Hopper looked to be an up and comer until he missed almost all of last season with an injury. He hit .329/.379/.388 in his only extended major league appearance which was 307 AB's in 2007. Those numbers would be great at the top of the order if he is healthy and Taveras and/or Dickerson struggle or get hurt. I think Dickerson and Hopper make the club along with Hariston because of his versatility. That leaves one extra spot between the non-roster invites. I think it goes to Gomes because he is a right handed power bat. He doesn't hit for average or get on base so he is not an everyday player but he is a strong bat on the bench. I want him to make it for personal reasons. He brings a certain fire to the team. Also, he did something I think we all want to do, beat the crap out of the Red Sox:

The outfield should be Bruce, Taveras, and a platoon of Hairston/Hopper and Dickerson. Bruce is the only bat that would scare most teams but if the other two positions can improve and play at their best, the outfield will at least be adequate. Any struggles or injuries and the outfield will turn into Bruce and 2 automatic outs. The defense should be improved without Griffey and Dunn, but that is pretty much a given.

This concludes out look at the Reds by positions. Games begin tomorrow with the Reds taking on the Devil Rays. The run to the 2009 pennant begins then. For the Devil Rays, of course.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New feature: Getting the Reds Out

Ok. This is a new feature to the blog. Periodically(Daily, Weekly, Monthly, we will see) I will make a post that has nothing to do with the Reds or their terrible manager. It will be called Getting the Reds Out and will be about anything that is on my mind. My legion of fans (two) has been calling for more non-Reds talk because, apparently, not everyone is a Reds and/or baseball fan. I guess not everyone cares about OPS+ and who will be the 5th starter. Anyway, onto the thoughts:

-2 weeks remaning in college basketball and teams are fighting for bids like fat kids fight for twinkees. March madness is close, which mean so it this guy. Pitt, UConn, and UNC are probably the best teams right now with the Oklahoma Griffins right there if healthy. The rest of the top 10 can make a run if hot but have glaring weaknesses. I always love when people argue over bubble teams. These are teams that are clearly not in the top 25 and have a 1% chance of making any impact in the tournament yet will be discussed for hours on end.Think about that next time you see people arguing over who should get in, Kentucky or Arizona (Arizona every time). Anyway, good slate of games tonight with Louisville playing a desperate team fighting for a bid on the road. Where have I see that before? I will take Georgetown to get the win tonight. In the other game, Oklahoma takes on Kansas. Griffin may or may not play. I think he sits because there is no need to risk further damage when he would be better served resting until the real tourny. Kansas should beat the other Sooners.

-Tiger Woods finally returns to golf this week. It is about time. It was strange that they cancelled all the tournaments up until now. Wait, you mean they actually played them. Funny, I didn't hear a word about them. What are they going to do when Tiger wins his 20th major in a few years and retires?

-The Oscars were last night and Slumdog Millionaire cleaned up. Hey, at least it is better then Titanic.

-Conan O'Brien had his finally show on Late Night Saturday. He is taking over the Tonight Show on June 1st out in L.A. Here are the 15 funniest moments. His last show was excellant and I can't wait until his new show starts. As for his replacement, let's just say I have better things to do then watch him.

-Finally, This guy is making $161 million. If there is a weight-salary comparison, I should be worth about $140 million.

Friday, February 20, 2009


The positional breakdown has now moved into the field. The Reds infield is fairly set with the only variable being injuries and Dusty Baker's stupidity. These two are very similar because they can be unpredictable and cause great anger to Reds fans everywhere. Let's hope the injuries don't creep up because Dusty's ignorance is unavoidable and will probably be enough to drive most fans to drinking. I have already started. Here is how the infield breaks down by position:

Starter: Ramon Hernandez (.257/.308/.406, OPS+ of 86)
Backup: Ryan Hanigan (.271/.367/.365, OPS+ of 91 in only 85 AB's)

In the offseason the Reds made one trade. That trade sent oft-injured and useless Ryan Freel to Baltimore for the oft-aloof and useless Ramon Hernandez. Seems like a case of both guys needing a change of scenery. Hernandez was criticized last season for seeming disinterested and not trying his hardest(Adam Dunn behind the plate). This may have had to do with the fact that Baltimore's best prospect was goign to take his spot behind the plate very soon. He still managed to put up pretty good numbers in the toughest division in baseball. Instead of facing 4 of the best rotations in baseball(Tor, NYY, Bos, TB) he gets to feast on some of the worst (Pit, Mil, Hou). I would also hope that a new team with great young Latin talent would get him excited about playing again. Not to mention our manager and his ability to get the best out of players. If he can improve to a .270/.320/.420 he would be the best catcher the Reds have had since Joe Oliver. Ok, that may be a stretch but I just wanted to give a shout out to the fromer World Series Hero. Hanigan played well in his September callup and is a much better defensive catcher then Hernandez. He will need to show he can hit everyday in the majors before he takes over the job. A year of backing up/spot starting would be a great way to break him in.

Starter: Joey Votto (.297/.368/.506, OPS+ 124)

Last season's Rookie of the Year Runner-Up solidified his spot here for years to come. He started in a platoon with Scott Hatteberg (Thanks Dusty) but soon proved he needed to play every day. The key to him is that he was able to hit the same whether it was a RH or LH pitcher. He drew walks and hit to all fields which made him very dangerous. His defense was very up-and-down, mostly down, but he improved as the year went on and will hopefully continue that. He is only 25 and should be a staple of the Reds for a long time. Or at least until he gets too expensive and moves to a team that has money.

Starter: Brandon Phillips (.261/.312/.422, OPS+ of 92)

Brandon's stats declined a little last season from his OPS+ of 105 in 2007. This is partly because he was moved to cleanup hitter and asked to hit homeruns. This didn't work. So what does Dusty do? Put him back at #4 this season. Brilliant. He OBP has never been great but last season he drew more walks in fewer AB's and cut down on his strikeouts. If he can return to '07 form, he could be good again. His defense is his strength. A former SS, his range in unbelieveable and, if not for a ridiculous '07 vote, he would have 2 straight gold gloves. He has been trying to become a leader, even attending the Reds caravan, something usually given to rookies because it takes away from time on the golf course. The question is whether his teammates will follow his lead. The best way to get the respect is to play and play well. Winning would also help.

Starter: Alex Gonzalez (.272/.325/.468, OPS+ of 99 all in 2007)

Gonzalez is back and said to be 100% after missing all of last season after having knee surgery. '07 was a great year for him at the plate but his defense and playing time were down. This could have been because his child was suffering from medical issues and took his focus off the game. This season, everything is good and he should be ready to go from day one. If his defense returns to what it was a few years ago and his batting stays strong he could be one of the better SS's in the national league. Before the injury, he was widely regarded as one of the best defensive SS in the game. His '07 year at the plate was also one of his best. His health and return to form will be a major factor in whether the Reds can improve and possibly contend this season.

Starter: Edwin Encancion (.251/.340/.466, OPS+ of 106)

Edwin regressed last year, both at the plate and in the field. His explanation for his struggles at the plate was kept trying to pull the ball out of the ballpark. This season he is going to try and spray it to all fields which should help his average. He still draws a ton of walks, much to Dusty's chagrin, and has the power to hit 20 HRs. Still young at 26 he should improve at the plate and on the field. His defense was atrocious last season but was pretty good the year before. I'm sure his actual ability is somewhere in the middle. He should continue to hit and put up a solid OBP. Improvement in the fielding and throwing would boost him to the top tier of NL 3rd basemen.

Utility IFs
All positions-Jeff Keppinger (.266/.310/.346, OPS+ of 70)
SS, 2B-Jerry Hairston Jr. (.326/.384/.487, OPS+ of 124)

Keppinger is a serviceable utility man who can hit when healthy. His numbers last season were down but that is partly because he was rushed back from a knee injury and played at less then 100%. At full strength his OPS+ is about 100 but his range at short is very limited. Hairston is in the battle for LF but can also play CF, SS, and 2B which makes him very useful. He can also serve as a leadoff hitter and the Reds were very good when he played last season. Of course, last season was a career year for him which he attributed to being 100% for most of it. Unfortunately that didn't last long because he was back on the DL a few times. The Reds will need him as a backup and spot starter and if he can stay healthy, a big if, he will be a solid RH bat off the bench.

One other player in the running for the utility spot is Wilkin Castilo, a player acquired in the Adam Dunn trade. He is only 24 and can play all IF spots including C. He received 30 AB's last September but will probably start the season back in the minors until his hitting improves or someone gets injured.

The infield is a solid hitting bunch with the corners being the strength and the middle being average to above-average. The defense, other then 2B, is a big question mark. Gonzalez is older and coming off a season ending injury and the corners are young and error-prone. If they improve and Gonzalez is back to his old form, they could be good. If they don't improve and Gonzalez is limited, the Reds will once again be at the bottom of the NL in terms of defense. Let's hope for the former and not the latter.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Last season was the first time in a long time that the bullpen could be considered adequate. All it took was signing an overrated closer to a ridiculous amount of money. But hey, they spent money and it worked. Wish they would do it more.

The relievers put up a 3.81 ERA last season, which is amazing because the year before the bullpen ERA was 5.13. The additions of Jeremy Affeldt, Mike Lincoln, and Francisco Cordero were the main reason along with steady improvement from Bill Bray, Jared Burton, and David Weathers. The only one of those players not returning is Jeremy Affeldt. The Reds remedied this by acquiring Arthur Rhodes in free agency. Rhodes pitched very well for both Seattle and Florida last year posting a 2.08 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and striking out better then a batter per inning. He is left handed and will probably be used as a left-hand hitting specialist, nearly the same role Affeldt played last season. In that sense, the bullpen is very similar with Cordero closing, Weather and Burton as 7th and 8th inning guys, Rhodes as lefty specialist and the Bray/Lincoln combo for anything else.

Cordero pitched well last season, converting 34 of 40 saves or 85%. He also struck out 78 batters in 70 innings. He should be improved this season because he recently said in spring training that he pitched last season with a bone spur that was removed in the offseason. Let's hope he can convert 90%. Let's also hope he gets more opportunities.

Burton was hurt for parts of last season so he was not able to duplicate his amazing rookie ERA of 2.51, but look for that form to return. The 27-year-old pitched very well in the middle of the season, posting a 0.95 ERA from late may until he was injured in late July. He finished the season with a 3.22 ERA. He is still improving and should continue to strike out better then a batter per inning as he settles into the 8th inning/future closers role.

Weathers posted his best ERA since 2003 at 3.25 and again was able to throw 70+innings. He is frustrating at times but manages to get the job done more often then not. He was signed to a 2-year deal this offseason but I would expect him to be traded to a contender in need of bullpen depth of the Reds are out of it again.

Bill Bray has battled injuries since arriving in Cincinnati from Washington. He is only 26 and posted a 2.87 ERA in 47 inning last year. If he can keep up that pace and stretch out to 60 or 70 innings, he could be a valuable member of the bullpen and the heir to the David Weathers set-up role.

Mike Lincoln was out of baseball before last season. He returned to pitch 70 innings and post a 4.48 ERA, which was about the league average. Hopefully he will improve in his second season back and the ERA will drop. Either way, he is a nice innnings eater but he is not someone you want on the mound in a pressure situation.

Overall, the bullpen looks sound with a good mix of veterans (Cordero, Weathers, Rhodes) and youngsters(Burton, Bray). The question in spring training is whether or not the flame throwing Josh Roenicke will make the roster as the final bullpen guy. He pitched live batting practice and let it fly at 98 mph. Would be nice to a change of pace from the batting practice speed of Weathers. The final spot may go to the loser of the 5th starter race, especially if Owings loses because he is a pinch hitter and relieft pitcher.

All in all, this is a solid bullpen that should be one of the strengths of the Reds.

We have now done the pitchers which means all that is left are the hitters. I will probably do the infield and outfield posts seperatly but let me warn you, it ain't looking good.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Starting Pitchers

For the first time in over a decade, the Reds left their starting pitching staff in tact. Last season our starters had an ERA of 4.97. Remove the revolving 5th starter(Fogg, Bailey, Belisle, Ramirez, Thompson, and Pettyjohn) and his 7.11 ERA and the other 4 returners (Harang, Cueto, Volquez and Arroyo) had an ERA of 4.37. That is not half bad and would have been in the top half of the NL before factoring in the bandbox called Great American Ballpark. Those 4 should be the cornerstone of one of the best 1-4 staffs in the NL and should give us a quality start two-thirds of the time.

The success of the Reds will come down to who wins the 5th spot and how that pitcher fares. Last season the 5th starter was 4-21. Change that number to 11-14 and the Reds become a .500 team. I expect Harang to bounce back and have a good season, which should offset any bumps in the road for Volquez and Cueto, who should both struggle in their second season pitching to the NL. Arroyo will do his 200 innings and 12 wins like always. As the 5th starter goes, so goes the team. He goes 11-14 while the top 4 stay the same, they are .500. He goes 14-11 with the top 4 staying the same, they are an 84 win team. He goes 15-10 with the top 4 inproving, they could get to 88 wins and have a chance at the division or WC with some help. I know its a long shot but everyone is a contender in February and March. Jeff Passan thinks we have a chance to compete with the Cubs(and like myself is not a Dusty fan). The 5th starter will determine it.

The competition will likely be between these four pitchers:

Micah Owings-Centerpiece of the Adam Dunn trade, he has started 45 major league games and has put up a 14-17 record in 257.1 innings with a 4.97 ERA. Struggled last year and had his pitching year cut short due to an injury but should be fully healed for spting training. He is 26 and has by far the most major league experience of any other contender. The other great thing is he can swing the bat. Last season he served as a pitch hitter for the Reds in September and managed to go 2-4 with 3 RBI's. He has put up solid batting numbers in his 116 AB's with a .319/.355/.552 and OPS+ of 126. That is a small sample sive but automatically makes him the 6th or 7th best hitter on the team. Can still be used as a pitch hitter late. His job to lose and I think he wins it.

Odds to job: 3-2

Homer Bailey-Once a top 10 prospect who some people are calling washed up at 22 years old. Those people are idiots and don't listen to them. He is still very young and, if he gets his head on straight, could break out and have a huge year. He has pitched well in AAA but has not been able to translate that success to Cincinnati. I chalk it up to being young and nervous. If he can make the club out of spring training and spend some time with Harang and Arroyo to learn the ropes, I think he could be very good.

Odds of winning job: 2-1

Daryl Thompson-bursted on the scene last summer with a great debut in Yankee Stadium. His is only 23 years old and only started 10 games above AA, 3 of those with the Reds. He should probably spend most of the year in Louisville and be called up later in the summer if there is an injury or trade. I like his potential but unless he throws lights out he needs some more seasoning. No need to rush his development when we have plenty of other viable, and probably better candidates.

Odds of winning job: 8-1

Ramon Ramirez-26 year old who probably looked the best out of the contenders last season, starting 4 games and pitching 27 innings with a 2.67 ERA. More mature then the other contenders and we know how Dusty loves older players. Can pitch out of the bullpen so if he were to lose the 5th starter spot he could make the team as a long reliever/spot starter. Still needs to Wow people to win the job because he is close to a finished product and would take time away from developing one of the other, younger contenders.

Odds of winning job: 10-1

The way I see it, Owings should get it unless some other pitcher pitches so well they take it away. Last year, Volquez pitched better then expected and Cueto blew everyone away to earn his spot, so it could happen. We will find out over the next 6 weeks.

Baseball is Back, and so am I

Pitchers and catchers report this week. Spring training is upon us. I could not be happier that baseball is finally back.

I know I have been away for a while. It seems the Reds did nothing while I was gone so all 5 of my readers have not missed anything. I did some reflection and soul-searching and decided that I need to get back to the focus of this blog, the firing of Dusty Baker.

Dusty was brought in for many horrible, nonsensical reasons. One of which was his ability to lure free agents that would not otherwise come to Cincinnati. Since he has arrived, the Reds lost their two faces of the franchise, Griffey and Dunn, and have added no one. Where are these free agents he was going to lure? Manny is unsigned. I made my pitch for him. Abreu took 1 year and 5 mil. Even Griffey and Dunn took pay cuts and signed with other teams. HE HAS LURED NO ONE!

Can't wait for another season of bad cliches (injuries have hurt us, we are young, making stupid mistakes and need to focus) followed by no free agents signings and losing a few good players. That seems to be the Reds motto. That and avoid anyone who gets on base.

I will try and post most days and plan on breaking the Reds down by positions over the next week as players arrive at camp. Now a few quick links that you may have missed because, well, the Reds never make any news.

Griffey headed back to Seattle. Good for him. They like him there and he can have a nice little swan song. Imagine if he had started the juice when A-Rod and everyone else did in 2001. He may not have gotten injured or at least returned quicker and the Reds may have another banner or two. I guess cheaters do win.

Adam Dunn signed with Washington, and so did about 50 other Ex-Reds, including blog favorite Corey Patterson. I miss him already. The brilliantly named has the list of Ex-Reds signed by the Nationals and C. Trent has a nice photoshoped picture of the new hats for Washington.

I guess there is one team the Reds should beat, a team full of their castoffs.

Well that is it for today. Expect more posts in the coming weeks breaking down the team as well as any updates if anything every happens, which it probably won't.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

End of Bowl Season; Reds signings

Well a new year is upon us. My resolution: to write on the blog more. Why? Because I am fed up with college football and the only good thing to happen in college basketball has been this:

Well the final Bowl game is tonight and as I predicted it is an overrated SEC team against Oklahoma. I picked an overrated SEC team to win and I think that will happen. Florida, who lost at home to a 9 win Ole Miss team, gets to play for the title instead of USC, who lost to a 9 win Oregon State team two days before. Utah goes undefeated, beating that same Oregon State team along with No. 12 TCU and No. 14 BYU before trouncing the almighty Alabama in the Crimson Tide's backyard, yet gets no shot at a title. Why do these teams have no shot? Because they don't play in the almighty SEC. That being said, Oklahoma was the second best Big 12 team and should be able to hang with Florida but, in the end, Florida will pull it out because the home team usually wins a close game and this game is being played 300 miles from Gainsville and 1,500 miles from Norman. Sure is nice that the SEC gets the benefit of the doubt from the pollsters and computers even though they aren't a top 2 team(LSU 2003, Florida 2006, LSU 2007, Florida 2008) and gets to play the title game in their own backyard almost every year(LSU 2003, LSU 2007, Florida 2008). No matter what happens tonight, the real national champion will not be crowned because USC, Utah, and Texas have just as much a right to call themselves champions as tonights winner.

As for the Reds, I missed a few things during the holiday break. The Reds signed Willy Taveras to a 2 year deal worth $2.25 million this year and $4 million next year. He is a speedy CF, still fairly young at 27, and has shown signs of being a good leadoff man. His OPS in 2007 was .367 before falling to .308 last season. If he can go back to his 07 season, he would be a huge upgrade over previous leadoff/CF because his defense is pretty good and his baserunning is excellant. He was 68 for 75 last year which is the most steal in the league as well as one of the highest averages at 91%. Either way, he is better than Corey Patterson who has somehow gotten another chance at playing baseball, this time with the Nationals.

The other move was a resigning of Jerry Hairston on a one year deal. I also like this move because it is only a 1 year deal and he can play a variety of position, when healthy. He can play SS if A-Gon continues his 3 year rehab as well as CF and LF if we don't find another bat.

The righthand hitting LF search continues and things aren't looking too good. Milton Bradley is headed to Chicago, Pat Burrell is in Tampa, and it looks like the Red Sox will take Rocco Baldelli. That leaves only one available player, Manny Ramirez. He is still out there meaning his price has to have come down to around 20 million, something the Reds could probably afford but won't be able too because baseball is not meant for everyone to compete, only for big markets to compete every year with a random team thrown in to spice it up. I have seen all the stats about how many teams have made the playoffs/WS in the past 20 years but I give you this one, only once in the past 15 years has a team in the bottom half of payroll actually won the WS. That team was the Marlins. Goes to show you that those who can spend and do spend, win the WS. Those that don't have the means, have to hope for a miracle run to the playoffs or WS but don't have a realistic shot at actual winning the trophy. So, as pitchers and catchers begin to report in a month, remember that only 15 teams have a chance to hoist the trophy. What a great game.