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John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

From Brighthouse Field, let a new debate begin

Brighthouse -- the spring home of the Phillies here in shadow of Rt. 19 -- is truly a gem. If the Reds build anything close, it will be a huge upgrade over Ed Smith Stadium.

News flash: Ken Griffey Jr. is in the lineup. Plan was to play him in all the home games. He must be feeling pretty good to make the trip over the big bridge and up Rt. 19, for my money the worst road in the America.

As for the debate, the Eric Milton post struck a nerve. Let me just say the Reds are acutely aware that they're dealing with PR problem. But I don't think they'll eat a $9 million contract to solve it -- at least not out of spring training.

So let's move on.

Two questions for you: Who do you make the fifth starter? Who do you make the closer? I've been pretty clear that I think Matt Belisle will be the fifth starter. I base that on experience and stuff. But Bobby Livingston wouldn't be a bad choice either. Or Kirk Saarloos. I think Dustin Hermanson is going to be the closer. The only question was health and his back hasn't been a problem.


at 4:16 PM Blogger Colin said...

i think everything will work itself out. i think milton gets 3 starts and if he performs poorly in 2 of these (more than 4 earned runs) then you can bring up livingston or belisle (whoever doesn't make the team opening day), or even take saarloos out of the 'pen and have him start. my two cents: i think it's belisle to start as #5, but livingston will be called up in early may. as far as the closer, i think having stability is good, however if hermanson gets shelled, well i don't know what then. probably closer by committee until everyday gets back.

at 4:29 PM Blogger Laura said...

Does Livingston have options? I thought someone said he was a waiver claim...

at 4:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton had his chance and he doesn't cut it. Putting him in the rotation that basicly makes the team need to win games 10-9. Give that chance to a young guy. They can't do any worst and have more upside.

at 4:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Use Milton as your 5th starter. Use Loshe and Belisle as 3 and 4. I think the closer job is Hermonsons to lose.


at 4:48 PM Anonymous PaulT2 said...

I agree with you John. I like Belisle in that 5th spot to start out the year and I'm a fan of Hermanson closing out the games. I read a report out of the Boston Herald about the Reds being a possible destination for Joel Pineiro though. I really don't like that idea. He's never done anything impressive in the majors and I'm tired of getting other teams retreads (I don't consider Hermanson a retread since he's more of an injury sleeper).

at 4:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to be kidding me. After spending day after day on the ... non-story ... of Griffey moving to right, you write one little bit about Milton, then put -- Let's move on? This story is 50 times more important than the Griffey witch-hunt you were on. Simply amazing.

at 5:03 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Livingston has options. Griffey switches position after 18 years in center is a non-story? Come on. The witch hunt consisted of me asking him about.

at 5:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds will be better off eating Miltons salary than paying him to 9 million to lose games. They would be saving money by paying Livingston the league minimum and getting to the playoffs. If Livingston goes .500 its an improvment over Milton. It was a mistake to sign him then, its a mistake to keep him now. If he stays, make him 5th.

at 5:19 PM Blogger poynorch said...

Milton gets two starts if he gets shelled. This is starting to look like a Wilson/Claussen situation. He's always been a fly ball pitcher, but is there a chacne he's really hurt and not coming clean with it? He's been truly awful this spring even by his standards.

5th starter: Livingston (Belisle's fine w/ me too)
Closer: Hermanson

at 5:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn't there much talk of burying Milton in the back of the rotation as the 5th starter? I certainly have less confidence in him than with Harang, Arroyo, Loshe. With quite a few off days during the first few weeks of the season, Milton will get less starts, the Reds could win more games and fans in the moon deck would be less risky to get struck on the face by a line-drive homerun.

at 5:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Milton should be the 5th starter. I think everyone would agree that the Reds should have more confidence in Harrang, Arroyo and Loshe. With so many off days in April, burying Milton in the 5th spot will result in fewer starts by our $9M hero. It will also allow the Reds to win more games and reduce the risk of fans in the moon deck getting cracked in the head by a screaming line-drive homer.

at 5:44 PM Blogger jdeezman said...

We need quality left handed pitching. It seems pretty obvious that Milton can't supply that, given his performance that last two years & change.
I say send Milton down or cut him, eat the salary (we will either way) and let the Belisle pitch. He can't do worst than Milton has and he is young enough to have a chance to grow.
Hermanson is a proven closer (when healthy) and it's been a while since we've had one of those. It should be his job to lose.

Keep Livingston & Bailey close and healthy, in case of injuries.

at 5:44 PM Blogger jdeezman said...

We need quality left handed pitching. It seems pretty obvious that Milton can't supply that, given his performance that last two years & change.
I say send Milton down or cut him, eat the salary (we will either way) and let the Belisle pitch. He can't do worst than Milton has and he is young enough to have a chance to grow.
Hermanson is a proven closer (when healthy) and it's been a while since we've had one of those. It should be his job to lose.

Keep Livingston & Bailey close and healthy, in case of injuries.

at 6:01 PM Blogger docproc said...

As I posted before, I want to see Milton cut--but if he's going to be in the rotation (and he probably will), I like the idea of backing him up to the 5th slot. Belisle gets slot 4, and Livingston gets Milton's spot once Eric stinks it up in April (please, Reds, have the guts to cut him if he stinks). I'm not excited about Saarloos.

I like having one closer rather than "closer by committee," so let's see what Hermanson can do. By next year it should be Bray's job.

And John, you DIDN'T "witch hunt" Griffey--you just did your job. I'm tired of anonymous bloggers taking stupid potshots at you.

at 6:11 PM Blogger Britt said...

John, is it true that Milton still has minor league options? If he does and is sent down and doesn't report does he forfeit the remaining money on the stupid contract that was 'given' to him? If so - problem solved! If not, the money is spent - lets move forward. If he goes down and can find something that will work at the major league level, so be it. If, and until, he does the team and the fans won't have to suffer from the enevitable hole that they will find themselves in. I, for one (I'm sure there are others) will NEVER attend a game that Milton pitches. I can't justify the expense. The Reds can't either. BC and K-Y can't have it both ways - they either mean what they say about giving the team the best chance to win NOW or they don't. Let the spin stop here!

at 6:16 PM Blogger John Fay said...

He has options. But as a veteran -- five years or more -- he can refuse the option. So it would be effectively releasing him.

at 6:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a question. if belisle is 5th starter.when everyone's healthy in the bullpen who's out.saarloos,stanton,weathers,coffey,hermanson,cormier,burton,bray,majewski...9 for only 7 spots?

at 6:34 PM Anonymous Merlin said...

I'm kinda surprised that nobody has mentioned Jared Burton. Personally, I agree that paying Milton's salary either way is the reason you cut him. Paying him to lose is silly. Cut him, & for very little additional budget, you have a couple of young guys who might be productive, & who have way more upside than "Gopher" Milton. If it would help Castellini, we could take up a collection to cover the cost of Milton's plane ticket home.

While we're at it, trade Cormier, & clear another roster spot for Majewski.

at 6:38 PM Blogger Britt said...


Don't you think that a more likely effective Bobby Livingston is worth the addition major league minimum salary that it would cost?

at 6:55 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I think Majewski and Bray are going to start the year on the DL. Burton and Milton are apples and oranges because Milton's spot would go the Livingston.

at 6:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give the nod to Belisle over Livingston because he has more major league experience. So I'd put Belisle #5, Livingston in AAA (and the first to be called up as a replacement) and Saarloos in the pen. As for the closer's role, I think it's a no brainer right now...give it to Hermanson...let Weathers/Stanton pitch the 8th.

at 7:25 PM Blogger DanH said...

Looks like Milton gets 5 starts in April as the #3. I'll give #5 to Belisle. If Milton's 5 starts mirror his ST starts the Reds would be forced to do something. Livingston in Louisville keeps him on a regular starting rotation and ready to be called up in May. I could only see a trade of Milton if the Reds paid a good chunk of his salary. Hermanson is the closer. Gives Narron and the bullpen defined roles. And the whole Griffey episode was a story. His reluctance to discuss it basically confirms it.

at 7:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Milton is going to travel north. I agree he should be moved down to the #5 spot where some off days might fall and lessen the pain. We can only hope against hope that Milton regains a small bit of the pitching form and mental makeup that made him a big acquisition 3 years ago. (remember how excited we all were about signing a number 1 starter?) Belisle deserves his chance in the rotation, but after watching Livingston vs. the Red Sox, I wouldn't be shy about bringing him up sooner than later.

I love what they have done with the bullpen. I could never understand the fascination with aging, mid-80's relievers who "pitch-to-contact" in a park like Great American. Give me hard-throwing strikeout arms for the late-innings everytime. Hello Mr. Burton and Hermanson. When Bray gets back...I am liking the looks of our late inning relief corps. They might not have the magic of the "nasty-boys" but at least they can bring it when needed. -MB

at 8:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eat Milton's $9M salary and give Saarloos and Belisle the ball every 5th day. Good stuff, some pro experience, and Saarloos is a sinker ball pitcher. This also makes room to keep Burton on the roster more than just for the DL stay some of the pitchers have. You have to like the kid. Closer - Hermanson until someone else emerges.


at 10:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put Milton in the 'pen to do long relief and/or "mop-up" roles unless they decide to eat his salary (doesn't make sense to cut him yet) and let someone with a decent chance of giving the Reds a chance to win be a starting pitcher.

at 11:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok avg joes..Here it is..My rotation would be as follows

Harang,Aaroyo,Livingston,Belisle,Milton..Should he falter after several starts then he goes to the pen..

The closer job should go to Hermanson

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