It’s rare that I find myself dumbfounded. One time was certainly the moment a few months ago when an old friend from college told me he was gay. I was pretty awestruck when I realized that Christina Aguilera had gone way past Britney Spears on the attractiveness scale (something I never thought possible).
This brings us to the Mitchell Report; I wondered which Cincinnati Reds I would see listed there. I expected to see Ron Gant, perhaps Bret Boone. It wasn’t just the huge, muscle-bound guys that were listed, though. There were many pitchers in the report (especially that were tied to the Reds), most of them in the twilight of their careers. There were also a lot of thinner guys, many of them that hit for average rather than power – chief among them was Hal Morris.
If you had me list a group of Reds players for the past 20 years that would be suspected of purchasing (and the assumption is that they then used) steroids or HGH, Morris would have been near the bottom of that list. He just didn’t fit the body type I’ve associated with those products. It’s time to rethink our assumptions about who (and how many people) in baseball may have ‘roided up to stay competitive. It’s clearly not as obvious as we once thought. Which means steroid / HGH use was probably more prevalent than we ever thought.
It just goes to show you that people will do anything to stay competitive or maintain their livelihood. I think that the use of those drugs was wrong and must have been seen as cheating in the minds of those that took them. I can’t say that I blame those players or that I can understand the choices they were forced to make. The whole thing is unfortunate. My hope is that MLB finds a way to test, agrees on a policy to test, then enforces the rules. That way we can all move on and put this era behind us.
Josias Manzanillo (I do not remember this guy at all)
This is one of those deals where you tend to let your emotions get the best of you. Josh Hamilton won over the hearts of Reds fans last year with a solid campaign after they picked him up in the Rule 5 draft. Now after just that one solid season, he’s been dealt to the Rangers. There’s no doubt Hamilton is an exciting player, but you have to give the Reds front office some kudos on this one. They basically turned a player they gave up nothing to get (the cost for a Rule 5 player it $50k) and turned it into some pitching help. You also have to take into account the logjam of outfielders the Reds already have so it looks like Dusty Baker and the front office decided Hamilton was the odd man out.
Volquez was the Rangers minor league pitcher of the year and with 156 strikeouts in 144 2/3 innings at the higher levels of the minors, you have to be impressed with his stuff. He’s untested at the major league level and control is an issue. He has 55 strikeouts and 42 walks at the big league level over 80 major league innings and while this isn’t as pronounced at the minor league level (563 strikeouts versus 216 walks in 551 innings). Volquez will fill in a spot at the back of the Reds rotation, not that anyone with big league starting experience couldn’t have done that.
The Reds also got minor league hurler Danny Herrera. His Double A debut last year went well and while he’ll probably start the season in the minors, this is a guy who, best case scenario, gives the Reds a solid option out of the pen.
Of course with the three young players, this is one of those deals where we won’t know for a while who won out. If Hamilton goes on to play in an All Star game or two, then who knows unless Volquez turns into a solid fourth starter behind Harang, Arroyo and Bailey.
I read a rumor that Homer Bailey was in a proposed deal for Eric Bedard of the Orioles during the Winter meetings. I was initially shocked to see that but it’s fair to say that Homer, while he has HUGE upside, is not yet an established MLB starter. Bedard on the other hand makes the Reds instantly viable for the NL Central crown. The more I think about it, the more you make that trade if you can. Now I’m hearing Red Sox / Yankees in the mix for Bedard. It figures.