Archive for December, 2006


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Griffey and Bad Luck

Oops

By Thaq Diesel

Is he just clumsy?  Does Griffey start each season by breaking a mirror?

Rounding Third and OOOOOOPSGriff Needs a New Pet



Ken Griffey, Jr. Breaks Hand, Spring Training Status Unclear

Wow, it’s not even 2007 yet and Ken Griffey’s status for the 2007 season isn’t certain because he broke his hand at home.  There were no details, but this isn’t the first time this has happened to Griffey.  If you remember, he fell in the shower and broke his arm in his rookie year and that probably cost him Rookie of the Year.

Wayne “No Free Agent Moves” Krivsky said it’s not clear if Griffey will be ready for spring training and that they’ll know once he gets the cast off in three weeks.



Platoon – Remade for 2007, Starring Jeff Conine

By Thaq Diesel

The Reds acquired yet another platoon player today .  It’s just like ‘Nam, man!  Those stands are just crawling with Charlie!

Your guess is as good as mine about how the crowded roster of journeymen on the Reds will play out next year.  Conine brings a much-needed right-handed bat to the lineup and can play first base or outfield.  He’s a relative bargain in today’s market at $2 million per year.  He’s also 40 years old with one year left on his contract, so he doesn’t get the roster any younger and isn’t likely to be with the team long-term.  Well, unless he’s chugging the Julio Franco youth elixir (I wonder if there’s a test for that yet?)  This deal has more upside than bad.  It’s also yet another minor tweak to a team that seemed to need a couple major pieces added to it. 



Still No Major Moves This Winter

By Thaq Diesel

There have been no improvements in the pitching to speak of.  The Reds have tinkered with the infield thus far but otherwise nothing.  Either Cincinnati thinks they’ve got minor league prospects ready to jump up (I’m not seeing it if there are), they’re sitting around waiting to sign a major free agent (can’t think of whom) or they’re not going to do anything.

One factor – teams are overpaying for players this year, due to market forces and supposedly more money in the general spending pot.   I about had an aneurysm when I saw what the Reds paid Weathers, but then some of the mediocre starters signed by other teams this offseason for eye-poppping numbers seem to make Weathers a relative bargain.  Even Milton’s bloated contract is starting to become average as the market adjusts itself.  Tough to say whether the team should sit idle or overspend.  I keep thinking a blockbuster move is in the wings. 



Nothing But Prospects

Prospect expert John Sickels recently unveiled his top 20 Red prospects.  There’s no surprise that Homer Bailey tops the list.  He gets the all important A rating and he should be near the top of any list of pitching prospects.  Bailey was dominating in Double A this year at the ripe young age of 20.  He struck out 77 in 86 at bats and gave up only one homerun.  I hope they don’t rush the kid but we could be seeing him in the rotation as early as 2007.

Jay Bruce is second with an A- rating.  He had a solid season in Low A and hit 16 homeruns and stole 19 bases, so he brings it all.  His down side are the strikeouts.  106 in 444 at bats is a bit high.

Joey Votto rounded out the top three with a B+ but after that, nobody ranks above a B-.  So the farm system has a ways to go, but at least we have some potential studs up at the top.



Last Year Was Not a Dream

By Thaq Diesel

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has this little comment after rating the Reds 27th out of 30 teams for next season.  “So how, exactly, did this team win 80 games last season?”

I read this a few days ago and it keeps echoing in my head.  There was a reason people (including yours truly) sold the Reds short at the end of Spring Training last year.  On paper, Cincinnati just doesn’t look very impressive.  The sum is greater than the parts.  As of todasy, other than bolstering the defense, the Reds haven’t done much to improve last year’s team.  They need another starter and a closer; we’re still waiting for that to materialize.  So, based on Passan’s comments above, what separates the Reds from the Kansas City Royals and puts them in the top 10 teams, based on last year’s results?

  • Griffey, Dunn – Power / runs
  • Two solid starting pitchers.
  • Intangibles – Hatteberg, Javier Valentin [clutch hitting]; Brandon Phillips [Power, speed, defense - each shown at opportune times].
  • Depth in the middle relief.  The bullpen is a war of mediocre attrition. 

It’s tough to make the case that this is a playoff team, but the Reds almost pulled it off last year.  And their defense cost them a solid 10 games to say nothing of the 10-15 the bullpen cost them.  Maybe they’re even better than we don’t think they are right now [my first Yogi Berra statement].  I just can’t explain it, but the fact that the Reds are competitive makes me happy.



Winter Notes 12/07/2006

By Thaq Diesel

The Reds signed a 25-year old minor leaguer from the Devil Rays labelled as “troubled,” in Josh Hamilton today in the winter meeting draft.  He’s had drug problems, personal problems (see #1) and knee problems in the past.  Perhaps he can get his head on straight and produce for the ‘natti.

There’s a rumor going around that Griffey may move to right field allowing Freel to play Center everyday.  If Junior is fine with it, it sounds like the right move to me.  Freel definitely has better wheels at this point in Griffey’s career.  I’m also seeing rumors about the Reds talking to the agents / teams of Mark Loretta, Eduardo Perez, Craig Wilson and Shea Hillenbrand.  I guess it’s for bench strength – I thought the infield was pretty much set at this point.  Hillenbrand is an interesting addition – good offense, but awful attitude.  Is he worth the trouble?  I don’t see any of those four starting over Encarnacion, Alex Gonzalez, Brandon Phillips or Scott Hatteberg.

Finally, farewell to Rich Aurilia who was a leader and great contributor to the past two Reds teams.  Best of luck and enjoy the Bay area again.



Reds Sign David Weathers – You Paid How Much?!?!?!?

By Thaq Diesel

I have officially become an old man.  “Back in my day, we didn’t pay $2.5 million per year for mediocre set up men!  We had our starters pitch 250 pitches per start until their arms fell off – AND WE LIKED IT!”

Yes the Reds signed Weathers for $2.5 million per year for two years today.  He seems like a nice enough guy, but there was a point last year where I was absolutely disgusted with Weathers – he gave up two or three home runs in an inning and then took himself out of a game because his arm or some other body part which I won’t name here hurt.  It’s either a sad state of the free market in baseball, a sad state of the Reds bullpen or both.  Weathers had decent numbers at the end of the year – 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA and 61 hits in 73 2/3 innings.  Those numbers shock me.  They seemed much worse during the year and I distinctly remember getting a queasy feeling when he came to the mound because of how the year started (when he was the closer, then he wasn’t, then he hit that rough patch). 

It’s almost certain Weathers is not going to be a closer for the Reds and they have not offered arbitration to Eddie Guardado, who is recovering from season-ending surgery.  This could be a tactical ploy aimed at paying Everyday Eddie less money to be the closer when he’s recuperated, if that day ever comes for the 37-year-old.  More likely, Krivsky is going to make another deal for a closer.  At least I hope that’s what’s happening. It’s rare to see “closer by committee” work, the 1990 Reds notwithstanding.  Right now the Reds are middle-relief heavy and lacking a true closer.  It’s a long way to April so I will sit tight and watch hopefully.



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