“We’ll see what happens” were Jerry Narron’s words but he did indicate that Aaron Harang, one of the few beacons of light on the Red’s pitching staff last year, might get the opening day start this April. Aaron Harang led the team in wins with 11, ERA with 3.83 and also led all Reds with 163 strikeouts. He was by far the most consistent pitcher on the team and his numbers might have looked even better if he hadn’t run out of gas and had three sub par starts to close out the season.
Harang’s best month was May. He went 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He followed that up with his worst month in June. He finished that month 0-4 with a 6.67 ERA.
Harang came over to the Reds in the Jose Guillen trade with the Oakland A’s.
Alright, in case you haven’t been here before, this is where my fellow Reds’ bloggers and I get together and solve all of the team’s problems in a chat format. Things got going a little and I had to bow out early, so I got one of the earlier sections. In fact, I have section one. I’ll be adding links to other six sections as they go live. Thanks go to Andrea for the editing job.
Here we goooooo………
*****************Topic 1: Reds Bullpen************************
JDArney: K, bullpen.
JDArney: What’s everyone think of it?
JDArney: I think it sucks.
BRM: It’s not a strength but it’s not necessarily a weakness either.
BRM: A lot is riding on Wagner and Coffey to step it up.
Shawn: Weathers, and the other old guys, concern me
Doc Scott: I was pissed that they brought in Rick White
Doc Scott: he was totally unnecessary
Shawn: But I don’t know if the young guys are any good
Shawn: Or if Wagner can stay healthy for any period of time
Doc Scott: they have a bunch of younger guys with good stuff-
Standridge, Hudson, etc.
Red Hot Mama: Did you see Lancaster said that Coffey’s taken off yet
Shawn: That’s amazing
JDArney: Coffey is the only bright spot, the rest is fairly mediocre
Red Hot Mama: He used to be downright roly-poly.
BRM: Rick White is similiar to David Weathers I think. They were going
to the same formula as last year…bring in Vets.
Doc Scott: and instead we’re going to see Rick White chucking and
Doc Scott: Coffey will get better, for certain
Jacci: I hope so
Doc Scott: I’d like to see Belisle challenge for a starting spot
Shawn: Standridge I don’t see having sustained success…he was very
lucky last year. Hudson will not be a good bullpen pitcher
Shawn: Coffey was too hittable last year
BRM: Wagner is the one guy who can really dominate hitters when he is
Doc Scott: Standridge and Hudson have similar stuff- big fastball,
sharp curve, poor changeup, poor control
Doc Scott: perfect for one-inning relievers… if they can throw enough
Shawn: Wagner is the only guy in that bullpen with killer stuff
Doc Scott: however, that’s true
Doc Scott: Wagner needs to step it up a few notches
Doc Scott: he was rushed to the majors to begin with
Doc Scott: but it’s largely too late to correct that
BRM: Sad thing is they drafted Wagner BEFORE the Expos drafting Cordero
BRM: same draft
BRM: Cordero was one of the best closers in baseball last year
Shawn: Yeah….but you never know for sure
BRM: but Wagner is from Texas. Apparently that is the main focus of our
Red Hot Mama: It *is* a very large state
BRM: influential too
Doc Scott: Texas and Florida and California are the three biggest
states for ballplayers
Shawn: Drafting is an art, not a science
JDArney: The Reds passed on Derek Jeter too
JDArney: It happens
Doc Scott: wasn’t Johnny Almaraz Texas-based for a long time?
Shawn: That could be because they are the most populous
BRM: I am just saying Wagner was drafted way high projected to be our
JDArney: For Chad Mottola of all people
JDArney: It was a stupid draft pick, would have been a stupid pick to
take Cordero too.
Doc Scott: drafting a reliever in the first round can be like drafting
a kicker or punter
Blade: No doubt BRM
Doc Scott: they better be good, and they better contribute fast
Shawn: Wish we could blame Mottola on O’Brien
Blade: And JD, I never understand teams that take relievers in the
JDArney: The Reds aren’t in need of a quick to the majors bullpen arm,
they have deeper, harder to fill holes.
Doc Scott: the “Moneyball”types liked the Wagner pick
Shawn: Drafting relievers in the first round is the new drafting high
JDArney: They did?
Doc Scott: it was speculated that Ryan could be converted to starting
Doc Scott: that was part of it
Doc Scott: plus he did well so quickly that it was hard to naysay
Shawn: Teams are drafting college closer figuring they can reach the
Mark Sheldon, the Reds beat writer for MLB.com, recently penned a column on the Reds starting rotation (or lack thereof). There’s some really good stuff in here.
We all know the Reds pitching is bad and has been bad for a while. He uses two illustrations. Tom Browning is the last home grown pitcher to win 15 games in 1990 (does that season ring a bell?) and Danny Jackson is the last pitcher to win 20, and he did that way back in 1988. Unfortunately, it gets worse.
2002 is the last season the Reds finished with an ERA under 5.00. That year they finished 11th in the National League with a 4.27 ERA. The last time they finished in the top half in the NL in ERA was 2000, which was also the last time the Reds had a winning record. That year they were fifth with a 4.33 ERA. And the last time they had an ERA under 4.00 was in 1999 when they just missed winning the division.
To make things even more depressing, we have this story about Tony Womack. God help us all if he’s the regular starting second baseman this season. And I’m sure Tony is a standup guy, but doesn’t he look bugged out in that picture.
Josh Hancock was released this weekend because he showed up 17 pounds overweight. Hancock missed most of last season because of a groin injury but he was decent in the 14 innings he threw.
I’m not sure if this is a statement cut or what. You would think they would have given him some time in camp to get his weight down, but then you also have to question his offseason discipline.
This is huge. I know I throw around the fact that Adam Dunn is a future Hall of Famer and I’ve been accused of having a man crush on him, but this is a great signing for the team. Dunn will make $7.5 million in 2006 and $10.5 million on 2007. There’s a mutual option for 2008 that would pay Dunn $13 million with a $500,000 buy out. And if you want an unbiased opinion on the signing, both Baseball Musings and Baseball Prospectus thought it was a good deal.
Dunn’s a player who’s hard to compare. His Similarity Index at Baseball Prospectus is only 6. Anything under 20 means he’s hard to match up with a past player. His most comparable is Troy Glauss. Boog Powell comes in at two, but Hee Sop Choi is third. His fourth most comparable player is the most interesting one, Barry Bonds. Over at Baseball-Reference, his most comparable through the age of 25 is Darryl Strawberry. Coming in at second is Reggie Jackson. Boog Powell and Troy Glaus also make the list.
What’ll be interesting to see is, how the list changes when Dunn blasts another 45-50 homeruns this season and draws another 100 walks. 42 homeruns will give him 200 before his 26th birthday. Only seven other players have accomplished this.
This was the last of the potential arbitration cases the Reds have. Six filed and all six have now been signed. And just in time. Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow to sunny Sarasota, FL (former home of the Macho Man, Randy Savage).
The future Hall of Famer is locked up for two years with an option for a third. More on this at 11.
Let’s Start the Season Already
By Thaq Diesel
* Welcome to the club, Wayne Krivsky. You’ve got your work cut out for you on the mound, but you’re not starting with zero on the rest of the team. Now quit signing more utility players and go get me that pitcher you promised (and bring back those cheese appetizers you talked me out of.)
* I, personally, am excited to see some shake up in the minor league system with Tim Naehring as the minor league field coordinator. The Griffey deal notwithstanding, the Reds aren’t going to be the type to make too many major free agent signings. In fact, as has been demonstrated, once a player gets to a certain salary level, they’re likely to be traded rather than have the Reds pay a premium for talent.
* I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Griffey is healthy all year and has a 40 home run season. Adam Dunn does too. If Kearns can find his old form, if Kearns isn’t traded, if our leadoff hitters can get on base, I see the Reds contending into August. Granted, it would be a lot of softball type scores (10-8 wins), but I think this team can really do some damage offensively if the planets align. Oh, and Dunn can’t get complacent once he gets his deal done either. And, as Marty Brennaman would say, Bong can’t give up too many Dongs. Easy as that – just 40 moving parts that all have to come together.
* This team needs an identity. Since Barry Larkin left, I can’t put my finger on the “leader” of the team. Rich Aurilia filled in that gap somewhat last year, but now that Casey’s gone, somebody needs to step up and lead that clubhouse.
* Felipe Lopez. All star. Great player. Probably the shortstop for the next 10 years for the Reds. Despite all this, I still treat him like he’s a state fair goldfish; I don’t expect him to be around too long and he isn’t as good as the puppy (a lame analogy to Larkin) I used to have . It’s not his fault; I’m so used to Larkin being around, I can’t get used to who is playing shortstop now in his absence, no matter how great a young player he is. It’s not him, it’s me. I’m sure I’ll come around this year. Maybe I need to have a good cry about it.
* Opening day tickets go on sale this Saturday at 9:00 a.m.. I’m going to try and score some this year.
Finally, a pickup where I’m not shaking my head. Scott Hatteberg is a solid hitter and he’ll give us some depth “when” one of our outfielders go down and Dunn is forced back out into left field. Hattberg’s claim to fame is working the pitcher. He got a pretty nice writeup in “Moneyball” and he has more career walks (432) then he does strikeouts (420).
We’re also not paying him a ton of money. One year, $750,000.
One teams trash is another teams…..not trash. The Reds claimed Michael Gosling off of waivers yesterday. He’s 25 and he’s had a pretty blah career so far. The one thing he has going for him (bear with me) is that he had shoulder surgery, so while he’s already 25, he hasn’t had the typical career path of a 25 year old pitcher. But his numbers didn’t look great and for a good team, Gosling would probably be fighting for the 11th or 12th pitcher spot. On the Reds, he’ll be vying for a spot in the rotation.
To make room on the 40 man, Luke Hudson was designated for assignment.
You know, both Krivsky and Castellini are going to get a free pass in 2006. They somewhat deserve because they’re getting in so late, but the more I look at this team, the more I see the same old stuff we’ve putting up with the last few years. Although I guess if a team were to stay on the sidelines, this would be the year and maybe we’ll burn some money with a trade deadline deal that will put us over the top.
Yes, that was (poor) humor.
This is kind of a nothing. We have enough outfielders, so I’m not quite sure why the Reds did this. Timo Perez has never quite lived up to his billing in the early 2000s. His “best” season was 2002. He actually hit .295 in 444 at bats, but his OPS was only .768, which is almost .100 more then his career mark. He can play all three outfield spots so if there’s ever a chance where Austin Kearns, Ken Griffey and Wily Mo Pena all go down, Timo might get some time.