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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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Monday, August 20, 2007

Minor matters

My man Jamie knocked himself out today (even used a version of a Marty B. line):

Louisville loses a tough one at Durham…Chattanooga and GCL Reds were off yesterday (National Aviation Day)…Sarasota splits a doubleheader vs. Clearwater…Daryl Thompson outstanding in the nightcap…Dayton beats Lansing thanks to 3 home runs and 7 RBI from Juan Francisco…Billings wins vs. Casper…Todd Frazier with 4 hits.

JOEY VOTTO: Louisville’s Joey Votto today was named International League Player of the Week for August 13-19 (.360, 9-25, 5hr, 12rbi)…In a 2-game stretch over the weekend (Friday and Saturday), Votto belted 4 home runs and drove in 9 runs…No player in the International League had more homers and RBI for the entire week than Votto collected Friday-Saturday…Votto becomes just the second player in franchise history to hit 2 homers in consecutive games…Votto ranks among league leaders in batting average (.303, 9th), home runs (21, 4th), RBI (87, 2nd), hits (134, 3rd) and on-base percentage (.391, T3rd)…So far in August, Votto is batting .313 (21-67) in 17 games (9app at LF, 8apps at 1B, 1 app at DH).

JUAN FRANCISCO: Like Votto, Dayton’s Juan Francisco is hotter than two grizzly bears fighting in a forest fire…Yesterday vs. Lansing he became the second player in Dragons history to belt 3 homers in a game (Wily Mo Pena) and the third to drive in 7 runs (Votto and Adam Dunn)…In 3 games over the weekend, Francisco batted .538 (7-for-13) with 4 homers, 6 runs and 12 RBI…He ranks T1st in the Midwest League with 21 HR and T2nd with 80 RBI.

8/17: LF Joey Votto (Louisville) – 3-for-5, 2r, 4rbi, 2hr
8/18: LF Joey Votto (Louisville) – 2-for-5, 2r, 5rbi, 2hr
8/17: LHP Matt Maloney (Chattanooga) – 7ip, 3h, 2r/1er, 0bb, 11k
8/17: LHP Ben Jukich (Sarasota) – 6ip, 3h, 0r, 1bb, 7k
8/19: RHP Daryl Thompson (Sarasota) – 1W, 6ip, 4h, 0r, 1bb, 7k
8/17: CF Drew Stubbs (Dayton) – 4-for-6, 3r, 1hr, 1rbi
8/17: 3b Juan Francisco (Dayton) – 3-for-4, 2r, double, 1hr, 4rbi
8/17: DH Billy Rojo (Dayton) – 3-for-5, 3r, 1hr, 3rbi
8/18: CF Drew Stubbs (Dayton) – 3-for-4, 2 doubles, 1r, 1rbi
8/19: 3b Juan Francisco (Dayton) - 3-for-4, 3hr, 7rbi
8/18: 3b Brandon Waring (Billings) – 3-for-3, 4r, 2hr, 2rbi
8/19: SS Todd Frazier (Billings) - 4-for-5, 2rbi
8/17-8/19 DH Brett Bartles (Billings) – 5-for-13, 4rbi, 1hr, 2r


at 2:58 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

Matt Maloney....deserving of a September call up?

at 3:38 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Deserving? Perhaps. But my guess is he doesn't get one.

at 3:57 PM Blogger Josh said...

If anything - those numbers show Votto should be playing up here ALL OF SEPTEMBER.

at 4:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, when do you think we'll see Votto in Cincy?

at 4:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

conine is dealt to mets for 2 double a players

at 4:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John in regard to Sunday's article about next year's team how about this for a radical idea to get everyone some playing time. (I think this idea was borne from watching Lou Pinella manage the Reds in the 90s)

* Do not pick up the option on Dunn
* Trade Griffey to the Cubs for either Rich Hill or Sean Marshall
* Pick up the option on Hatteberg

Then here is the Reds' position players for 2008:

LF: Votto/Keppinger platoon
CF: Hamilton/Hopper platoon
RF: Bruce/Freel platoon
1B: Hatteberg/Cantu platoon
2B: Phillips
SS: Gonzalez
3B: Encarnacion
C : Valentin/Ross platoon

With the flexibility of Keppinger, Hopper, Freel, and Cantu to play multiple positions you would be able to have the afore mentioned 13 position players and then have 12 pitchers which would be:

starters --
Hill or Marshall
(Belisle, Cueto, Dumatrait, Livingston)

bullpen --
Belisle or Livingston (long relief)
Salmon or Coffey or Majewski

What do you think? (I realize it will never happen although it could be pitched to Castilini as a solid business decision)


at 4:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just keep Dunn and play Votto at first?

at 4:47 PM Anonymous lexmike said...

When is the last time a pitcher drafted by the Reds and developed in their minor league system came to the big leagus and did well. The last one I can remember is Tom Browning which doesn't say much for the scouting or the development. As a long time fan, this is the organization's biggest failing.

at 4:59 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

If we don't get any closer to first in the next 10 days I'd give Votto a long look with Hatte coming off the bench.

at 5:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If we don't get any closer to first in the next 10 days I'd give Votto a long look with Hatte coming off the bench."

If Krivsky had had the brains to bring up Votto earlier, you might *be* a little closer to first. But that shouldn't be the goal this year anyway. Building a team for a good run should be the focus. That means letting go of the fetish for these hustling bit players like Hopper and Keppinger and concentrating on the Encarnacions, Vottos and (next year perhaps) Bruces. The spare parts will not be part of the next good Reds team, if there ever is one.

at 5:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Votto will do everything Hatteberg does (with the exception of an average glove instead of above-average), for a fraction of the cost. He hits for average and power, draws walks, and runs exceptionally well for a 1B. It's a no-brainer. But then, this is the Reds, so who knows what random thing will happen.

at 5:53 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

Hey Anon 4:37, I've been in favor of bringing up Votto since the All-Star break, but now that it appears were going to renew Hatteberg I think its best to see if Votto should be the starter with Hatte coming off the bench. And the team is starting Hamilton, Dunn, and Griff in the OF most days, not Hopper, and Keppinger is a backup getting playing time because Gonzales is out.

at 5:54 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I just talked to Votto's agent. He called me wondering what the corresponding move was. The Votto camp is disappointed to say the least. I'm little puzzled why Votto hasn't gotten a sniff. Cantu being a right-handed hitter explains today's move.

at 5:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone's curious about an assesment informed by real data (earlier players who posted similar numbers at similar levels at the same age), Baseball Prospectus projects Keppinger as a .300 hitter with very little power or speed and a low number of walks. This makes him fodder for being a nice utility player, but definitely NOT someone you want wasting a corner infield or outfield spot. With his skills he'd need to keep hitting .360 to even approach league-average at one of those spots. And meanwhile, you are stymying the growth of Encarnacion and/or Votto who are legitimately promising starters.

The Reds need to be building their next good team, not trying to win 74 instead of 72 games this year. Who will remember even next year how many games they won in their pursuit of 4th place? It's pointless.

at 6:04 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

Who is styming the growth of Edwin Encarncaion? Seems to me he plays almost every day.

at 6:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"were going to renew Hatteberg"

You've got to be kidding. They are going to repeat their mistake of paying him several million dollars to produce at a lower level than Votto -- who would be making the major league minimum?

If Wayne Krivsky has a living will, then someone needs to pull the plug on his life support. There's no measurable brain activity there.

at 6:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks John for the update from the Votto camp. It's not that I think Cantu wasn't worth taking a flyer on - he's young and talented enough that he might pay off - but to bury Votto longer just doesn't make sense. Especially if you think you might contend off the bat next year. You'd want him to get his growing pains in this season.

at 6:25 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

Please read what I posted- to keep Hatteberg as a backup to Votto, Hatteberg's option is for less than 2 million next year, and would be one of the best pinch hitting options in the league.

at 7:55 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

Votto needs to be here or Castellini needs to get the hell out of Cincinnati pro baseball.

We have an owner with no guts, a GM with no fiscal sense, and a manager who has to find things for make-believe major-leaguers (Bellhorn, Ellison) to do.


at 8:00 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

Oh there's a good idea, use a pitcher for a pinch hitter early in an 8-1 game...

Memo to the chief clown in the dugout: Bobby Livingston is no Rick Ankiel!

What's next? How about a circus bear in left field?

What? That IS a circus bear?

This team is an embarrassment. I've never seen such clueless OWNER-GM-MANAGER mangling of professional baseball tactics and strategy. The Braves must be laughing at the Reds (if not feeling fortunate not to have to be playing for us).

Please Bob, leave and take Wayne and Pete with you.

at 8:21 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Justin: I got to ask, why do watch/listen. It seems to make you miserable.

The Reds are 23-18 under Mackanin. What would their record be if someone you gave your personal seal of approval to as manager was in charge?

at 9:11 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

John Fay, why would being displeased equate to disinterest?

I follow the Reds because I've never seen such a good CORE bunch of players be surrounded by such lousy pitchers and lousier tactics and strategy. Dunn and Griffey and Phillips and Hamilton and now Keppinger represent some of the best baseball drama going. I can't wait to see what Dunn weighs next season, or who between Stanton, Weathers, and Dunn has the most chins, or what excuse for baserunning one of them has next!

My father (who is still alive) used to go to games in NY. He saw Gehrig and Ruth play, and the classic Giant and Dodger teams too, of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. He passed along his passion for baseball to me. It is a taste. As bad as things are here in Cincinnati, following the individual players (especially my favorites that I just named) is enjoyable.

Mack, to paraphrase Marge, started good, and initially I was convinced he deserved a year trial in 2008--a full year. But in all the years of following the Mets and the Yankees, and then the last 30 years following the Reds here, through really bad and some really good years, NONE of their managers ever batted someone like Conine cleanup, or started players like Ellison or Bellhorn, or pinch hit one pitcher for another so early in a game. No one except Pete Mack.

Baseball leaves plenty of room for second-guessing and what-ifs but there are such things as objectively stupid moves.

Baseball unorthodoxy is fascinating (as is LaRussa's batting the pitcher 8th fad this year) but while the Cardinals arguably have the luxury to mess around a little this season, the Reds don't.

Writing and baseball are enjoyable even when the home team isn't doing well. It's just a real shame that the Reds are doing poorly for too many wrong reasons.

Mack's record should be below .500 at season's end but I'm not sure that alone warrants firing him. I'd just like to know how anyone who wants to be a big league manager next year would make some of the moves he's made. Is he being told what to do from above?

Finally, I complain out of legitimate fear that this small market team won't stay in Cincinnati. Right now, there's little danger of the Reds leaving. But apart from Bud Selig, I can think of no worse thing to happen to major league baseball than Cincinnati losing their team.

Right now the fans seem to love GABP and enjoy going down there just to soak up the newness and beauty (they really did a good job with the new ballpark, which I first visited on Lopez cheek fracture night--my Frank Robinson bobblehead was actually stolen by someone sitting behind me so it's painful to call that night bobblehead night) since I was out of town from most of 2003-2006. Once the ballpark gets older, losing here will get much older, and unorthodox losing, or bad player development/roster management will put this team's stay in Cincinnati in jeopardy sooner or later.

I think more fans need to voice their displeasure with what can and should, in all fairness, be criticized. Ultimately, the players have to play and win but no team wins with nutty lineups or starting horribly untalented players (not to mentioning trading away some young talent after giving up on them prematurely).

I realize your question was rhetorical, and you obviously would prefer I wrote less or not at all here. But at least you are fair-minded enough to print most of what I write (it's a shame you declined to post my Hamilton-skewer the other day though...)

at 9:20 PM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

P.S. Baseball is more than a sport, it's an art. Baseball's psychology and math aspects are also unique to sports--perhaps because, while the ball isn't in play, there's more going on in baseball than in any other sport. Baseball's slowness is deceptive. Baseball features plays that no other sport features. There's no corollary to throwing a little chin music in basketball or football, for example. While hoops and gridiron contests have their superior features, if I had to follow one sport, I'd follow baseball.

With that, though, I must say: WHO DEY?

...and thank God Mack doesn't have to manage a clock winding down in the 4th quarter!

at 9:32 AM Blogger Ron said...

You were not around when the Reds had Hal Jeffcoat and Don Newcombe, and pitchers regularly pinch hit. There is no reason why a pitcher can't hit besides lack of at bats.

at 9:39 AM Blogger captainbiscuit said...

John...I was at Sunday's Louisville game in Durham. Votto got tossed for arguing ball and strikes and had to be restrained by manager Rick Sweet. (Have pix if you want to see them.) It was very un-Votto like (He's Canadian after all). I guess his frustration at not being called up explains it. Is there a business reason to keeping him with the Bats, like not starting the arbitration clock?

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