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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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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The mourning after: Onto 2008

God love all of you out there in Redsland. It ain't easy being a Reds fan. A fever chart of your emotions over the last couple of weeks resembles that of the stock market. Way up. Way down. Way up. Way down.

What Pete Mackanin said yesterday afternoon was right: Judge him on his whole record and how he handles the team. You certainly don't eliminate him from contention because the Reds lost a doubleheader to the Pirates. No matter how much you blame him for the sweep.

A lot of you give him a lot of the blame. I would not have played Jason Ellison either. That's not a second guess. As soon as I saw the lineup, I thought Josh Hamilton had a better chance of running into one for a home run than Ellison had of getting around to score a run after a single. But playing Ellison is not the reason the Reds lost the doubleheader. Despite, the recent run the Reds are a flawed team.

The fact is the odds of the Reds making the playoffs would have still been astronomical had the swept the DH.

But having been swept simply means the future is now.

I think today -- or in the next few days -- an edict should come down from Bob Castellini and Wayne Krivsky telling Mackinin this: We've seen what you can do a manager. Now, we want to make some decisions about players for next year. Hamilton plays every day whether a righty or lefty is pitching. Joey Votto plays first against right-handers. Johhny Cueto goes into the rotation. Homer Bailey joins him when he's healthy. Jay Bruce comes up to get a taste of the big leagues.

The Reds have to answer some questions about their young players before spring training to get an idea of how extreme the offseason makeover has to be.

Agree or disagree?


at 1:04 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Definitely agree. Also part of the edict should be, "we know what Ken Griffey Jr is, lets give him a good bit of bench time from here on out". LOL, I know that won't happen, but getting rid of him would be a big step to bringing a winning attitude and a championship team to Cincinnati.

at 1:12 PM Anonymous gmirones@yahoo.com said...

toaxJohn Fay;

Yes the last 6 weeks have been fun and have only reaffirmed my interest in the Reds. Should the flag of surrender be raised now, well if that sounds too harsh, then there should be some serious negotiations taking place. It is time to take a look at the future. In a previous post I, as you, identified some needs for next year. Let the rookies have a shot. Pitching is still the need #1 and giving a look at the future cannot hurt.

at 1:13 PM Blogger Marie830 said...

I can't think of a player with more of a winning attitude than Griffey jr. I think he is an essential part of the Reds becoming a championship team, as long as he continues to play at his current level.

at 1:14 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Agree 1,000 percent, but these loons who keep yelling to get rid of Griffey act like this is fantasy baseball.

How many times does it have to be reported that his contract makes him virtually untradeable. AND, Griffey has said on numerous opps that he plans to retire at the end of his contract, which is 2008.

I believe everyone can handle Junior for another year without too many repercussions.

at 1:23 PM Blogger cincikid said...

I agree. Though, by Bob C.'s quotes recently the only way management cashes in its chips on this season is when we are mathematically eliminated from contention. In this division that could be with just ten games left to play. And then in the offseason Bob C. and Wayne can get on their bandwagon that this season was a success on alot of fronts and that we were yet agian a series or two out of the playoffs. Which will be there same explanation to why we are not going to be players on the free agent and trade market this winter.

at 1:27 PM Blogger Gregory said...

Losing the double header was pretty sad. I have considered the Reds season over since before the All-Star break but even I had some hope if we won this doubleheader. I agree with you John. There is no reason to not see where we stand for next year. Some people will disagree but I really like our farm system now and its time to see where some of them will fit in for next year. Can Cueto make the rotation? How quickly is Jay Bruce going to adjust to big league pitching? Also, lets get Mcbeth back up and obviously its time for Votto to come up.

at 1:29 PM Blogger Gregory said...

John, can you give us a projected opening day lineup for next season. I can't put one together where good players aren't sitting on the bench. Anyone have any ideas?

at 1:30 PM Blogger Brad said...

Now John, don't go saying things that make sense......Krvisky won't like it.....

Did Krivsky ever say anything to the beat writers about the beatdown that Gregg Doyel gave him on the radio the other day?

at 1:33 PM Blogger HowieBrown said...

I agree with you on the pitching. I think the rotation in September should be Harang, Toastman, Bailey, Cueto, Shearn/Belisle/Ramirez.

I don't know that I would bring up the young position players. I don't think those two are ready for MLB pitching just yet.

To cheviot, you bench Griffey and you can say goodbye to ticket sales for the final month.

at 1:38 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I can't give a lineup because they have to make some big decisions: Dunn's option and they should move a position player to get a starter.

at 1:39 PM Blogger Dan H said...

I agree with your remarks but add playing Keppinger at third or at first to see how he can handle those positions. Also may not be a bad idea if Burton continues to pitch well to try him in a couple save situations in the final 2 weeks of play. And if you're bringing up Cueto how about Maloney for a couple starts. However, with all that give Jr. every opportunity to get to 600 HR this year.

at 1:44 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Krivsky said nothing to me about the Doyel thing. I'll give Krivsky credit for doing those shows. I didn't hear that one. But he usually comes off sounding defensive. That was the case there I guess.

at 1:45 PM Blogger Dan H said...

John, speaking of spring training have you heard anything from Reds upper management regarding the stadium situation in Sarasota after 2008. Reading the Sarasota paper and comments from Reds officials in Sarasota I feel the team hopes to stay in Florida if not remain in Sarasota.

at 2:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

After sitting through every game of the Marlins series, yesterday hurt.

I think both Dunn and Griffey have proved their worth to play next year. I know Hopper, Hamilton, and Freel in the outfield for one spot seems in excess (not counting Bruce) but I think Bruce can wait until the trade deadline next year if the Reds falter again. Start Dunn, Hamilton, and Griffey and bring Hopper in for tough lefties and to rest everyone (other wise Freel's old job).

The question is what to do about Keppinger? If you factor Freel in, you have too many quality guys in the infield too. I would play EE, Kep, BP, and Hatteberg to start the year, and if the Reds need to trade someone then Votto comes up. I think the veteran experience Hatteberg brings would help the young infield if there is a playoff push. Freel is the backup infielder and trade Alex Gonz. for prospects or par tof a package for a starter.

What to do about Ross and his 1.5 year disappearing act at the plate? Trade Ross. Valetine and Jorg behind the plate and get by with a few extra stolen bases.

Harang, Arroyo, Homer is the core to start the year. Try to get a #3 or 4 guy in the offseason or bring back Belisle and some other rookie. Trade Stanton, please.

I can't stand this Cubs feeling of 'next year will be the year'.


at 2:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The future is now, and I absolutely agree. Regardless of the outcome of the DH, we need to see just how much we can improve this team going into next year. It was exciting being in a pennant chase for a few days, but I think we all know deep down inside that this team had no realistic chance to begin with since, even after the recent 6 game winning streak, we were still 10 games under .500.

I don't think we would do any damage to Cueto or Maloney by bringing them up and giving them a taste of the bigs, I don't care if Louisville or Chattanooga are gearing up for the minor league playoffs. We need to get a small sample of how they will perform on the big stage and it'll benefit those guys by giving them some confidence and incentive to work extra hard in the offseason knowing that they can earn a spot in the starting rotation next spring. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel on starters and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of help on the horizon through free-agency. Furthermore, we can't afford to live off of waiver wire acquisitions forever.

Any word on Livingston yet?

at 2:08 PM Blogger John Fay said...

To Dan H. (who happens to be the one posters I've met, by the way): Talked to John Allen when that story appeared in the Sarasota paper. He thought it went a little far. But it will come down to that Nov. 6 vote. Passing taxes to fund stadiums is very difficult these days. My guess is the Reds end up at Vero or somewhere else in Florida. Selfishly, I hope they stay in Sarasota.

at 2:14 PM Blogger Hey Barry Larkin! said...

I completely agree, although I think it will have to happen as you outline it. Castellini needs to tell P-Mac that he has seen his skills and now give it up to see the current minor leaguers skills. Otherwise, P-Mac will continue to fight for his job, which he has every right to do, and most likely stick with the current roster. That being said, I think Mackanin is very hireable and I'd rather see him at the helm next year than LaRussa or Brenley.

at 2:18 PM Blogger Ashland ATeam said...

I know Mr. Redlegs already said this, but why not let Cantu play every day at first? All he's done is rip the ball since we got him, and his track record shows that he very well could be our cleanup hitter in '08. I say give him the same shot that Hamilton should get (playing every day against both righties and lefties).

at 2:33 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

Agree that we should be seeing the following every day:
- Votto
- Bailey (when able)
- EE
- Keppinger
- Hamilton

Cueto can probably wait. I love him, but am not convinced he's banging on the door quite yet.

I don't need to see tons of:
- Hopper
- Cantu

I'm comfortable that we're seeing the tip-top peak and upside of the former; and while the latter is interesting, he's lower on my "evaluation priority/development list" than either EE or Votto. If you want to play Cantu and Keppinger, it needs to be up the middle.

at 3:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John...
Count me in on those blaming last night's DH losses on Pete Mac! From his unexplainable lineups to his head scratching game management, leaving Ramirez in with the bases loaded, misuse of Bray and Burton, failing to bunt guys over...we should have scored 5 runs in the first two innings of the second game at least! And how can you not pinch hit for Gonzo??? Pete Mac says "they" missed to many opportunities to score and he's right but I didn't hear him trying to explain all of his "missed chances" to help them win!

I agree with you about the rest of the season for the most part. Play Hamilton every day, But if you're going to play Votto, play him every day too! Lets get rid of this platooning and play these guys every day! I'd say the same about Hatteberg...he should play every day too if he's the starting 1st baseman next year! Get Cueto in the rotation and get Ramirez OUT!

As for next year...I'd like to see the Reds trade Encarnacion with either Kepp or Cantu playing 3rd. If not Encarnacion, see what you can get for Gonzo but I definitely think Kepp has earned a chance at an everyday job next year! I'd like to see Cantu at 3rd, Kepp at SS, Phillips at 2nd and Hatteberg or Votto at 1st. Unless they can get a big time pitcher for Dunn keep him in left, Hamilton in center and Griff in right. After the year Griff's had, regardless of his failure to run out that ball off the center field wall yesterday, we need him in our offense in a big way! I'd use Harang, Arroyo, Belisle, Cueto and Bailey or Shearn for the rest of the year and see what happens in the off season!

at 3:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds greatest need is starting pitching. I don't know what deals or free agents will be in the market after the season. They need to give any good prospect an audition. I include Mahoney in this category. They really don't have too much trade bair with age (Griffey) and Dunn's contract unless the GM is smarter than he has shown.

at 3:23 PM Blogger dpick said...

Wake up Reds fans... the problem with this team is not the positional players, it's on the mound! And the mound problems now are way different than the ones at the beginning of the year. Due to injuries, the bullpen killed this team in the first half. But don't look now, but the bullpen is shaping into a strength. Majewski and Bray are beginning to look like the pitchers we traded for now that they are healthy, Gaurdado looks like he is finding his location again, Weathers has been good as a closer and Coutlangas and Gosling look more than capable as left handed specialists... that leaves one spot open next year for Coffey, Stanton or someone else to fight for... The issue to solve is starting pitching. Livingston is gone for next year, Belisle is a crap shoot! All the talking head experts were yapping about trading Lohse, but I would love to still have him. He is a decent 3rd/4th starting... averaging over 6 innings per start, with era of 4.4... he keeps his team in games! Griff is fine, Dunn is fine, it's great to have Hopper as a fourth outfielder. Kep has earned a spot and Valentine should be the regular catcher... the scoring and fielding is more than enough to contend in the Central next year. Where will the starters come from. Don't tell bring the young guys up. There is a reason they are in the minors, the scouts know they are not ready. Look at Homer, it's not all about mph and minor league stats. In the minors the hitters don't get scouting reports and films to watch, they don't get pitch count tendenceis, etc, the guys are theire to learn how to play. If all you have is a fast ball, major leaguers will light it up. Pitching in the majors is all about location and deceptoin... look at what Shearn did Sunday. Stop bitching about positional players and stop dreaming we can trade Dunn for a tier one starter. It won't happen!

at 4:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can the future be now? This team has major problems that not even the Yankees could fix in the offseason with the crop of free agents that are going to be availble. They need 3 starters, one of which needs to be a guy that can tandem with Harang at the top of the rotation. I think they have found something with Burton and Bray is a keeper. And I like Weathers, but how much longer does he have before he becomes the equivilant of Stanton. They need a closer and I would say at least one more power arm there. Where do you suppose that they get that from? It isn't coming via a trade, because as you have just seen, the Reds don't have anything to offer. No, this team has a ways to go. I think everyone got a little carried away with the fact that the Central as a hole is playing at a AAAA level this year.

at 4:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Hamilton should be the everyday centerfielder, Keppinger should play 3rd everyday, unless Ross can show he can hit on a regular basis, he needs to be traded for pitching, and allow Valentin and/or Jorgensen to catch in the future. I keep Hatteberg at First, Phillips at second, and Gonzelez at SS...and Dunn in LF and Junior in RF. Platooning can be an option, but in my opinion does not help players like Hamilton and Keppinger, especially Hatteberg.

at 8:31 PM Blogger Go Bengals said...

Has everyone forgotten about Freel? Freel needs to be an everyday player. He gives 110%every time he plays. So the way I see it, we have 4 everyday outfielders with only 3 spots: Freel, Hamilton, Griffey and Dunn
We can't forget about Freel

at 10:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frankly, it's hard to see Bruce getting even a little playing time while Griffey and Dunn are still in the mix. Hopper really has done a great job as the lead-off. Freel will be traded in the off-season. We won't see Bruce this year unless management decides to jettison Dunn or Griffey (both unlikely). EE has played very well lately. I'm not sure what his trade value is, but he's actually been part of the solution in the past 6 weeks. Kepp is slipping into a little slump, we'll see if he can work through it. Ross and Freel won't be back next year. Same for Stanton. Mack is done after Sept. It's still about pitching. The Cantu pickup will be a major addition before long. The minor league pitchers are still one-two years away. The next fix must be the starting rotation.

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