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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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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Questions to ponder

For the print version of my Reds Insider, I presented nine questions to ponder for the offseason:

1. Who the skipper?

2. Does Adam Dunn stay or go?

3. Is Jeff Keppinger for real?

4. Who are the No. 3, 4 and 5 starters?

5. Who closes?

6. Who's on first?

7. Who sets up for the closer?

8. Where does Jay Bruce fit in?

9. What's the payroll going to be?

I gave my best guess/opinion on the answers. What do you think?

By the way, I just walked out to where Dunn's home run landed last night. I think I'd use a 5 iron from there to get to the plate, maybe a 4.


at 11:03 PM Blogger Taylor said...

6. Who's on first?

That's the man's name.

at 11:17 PM Blogger Portland Phil said...

#1 LaRussa, maybe Brenley
#2 Dunn and GONE! Let someone else cheer his 40 homers a season...and his 200 strike outs...and his awful average with RISP! I'd rather see Hopper or Freel out there any day, everyday! And spend his 13 million on pitching!
#3 I love Kepp and I'd love to see him at 3rd base next season...what else does he have to do to earn a serious look at playing everyday?
#4 Who Knows? Maybe Livingston...maybe Bailey...but probably new guys they bring in thru trades and free agency!
#5 Weathers or Burton or a free agent!
#6 Hatteberg...I love the guy...I still think he's the best pure hitter they have. If not, give Votto a shot with Hatteberg backing him up!
#7 Burton, if he's not closing, Weathers, if he's not closing, Bray or a free agent!
#8 Bruce competes with Hopper and Freel in left once they get Dunn outa here!
#9 80 to 90 million...if Castalini wants to win!

I don't believe the Reds can win with MacKanin leading the way! How can they win when 3 of their 5 starters belong in the minors? How can they win with only 3 reliable relievers...Guardado, Gosling and Stanton definitely have to go and who knows if Majewski will ever get it together? Weathers, Burton and Bray are the only ones they can count on next year! The infield is a mess...they need to trade Encarnacion and get Kepp in there, Phillips is the only sure thing they've got in the infield, Gonzalez is a ? and first is open! The Reds have a TON of work to do if they want to compete next year!

at 12:36 AM Blogger Ron said...

1. Who the skipper?

A. Cant deny how the team has played since Mac took over, but I still gotta believe that if LaRussa is available, he is the man.

2. Does Adam Dunn stay or go?

A. Hard to say John. If we go cheap next year, I could see both Griffey & Dunn being let go/traded during the offseason. Then you have Freel/Hamilton/Bruce from left to right in the out field. If we decide to spend dollars, I think they both stay and Bruce spends a full year at AAA & Hamilton becomes your full time Center fielder.

3. Is Jeff Keppinger for real?

A. Until his performance proves otherwise. He has produced like this at every level in the minors. Although he may be playing a little over his head right now, we cant deny the production.

4. Who are the No. 3, 4 and 5 starters?

A. 3. Bailey 4.Livingston 5. Belilse if we go the cheap route.

3. Free agent 4. Free Agent 5. Bailey if we spend money.

5. Who closes?

A. Burton

6. Who's on first?

A. Votto ... 4 Homers & 9 RBIs the last two games ... the kid should already be up here. On September 1st they should tell Hatti & Conine to take the rest of the year off and platoon Joey & Kepp every day after Gonzo/Lopez comes back.

7. Who sets up for the closer?

A. Bray ... we have proven that signing "veterans" for the pen doesnt work. Time to let the younger guys have a crack at it. How much worse cant it get?

8. Where does Jay Bruce fit in?

A. See answer to question #2

9. What's the payroll going to be?

A. Until I see more than talk from ownership (I.E. actually going after & signing non-scrap heap free agents) my feelings are that we wont see any significant budget increases. I think the spending this offseason will be directed towards managment/coaches.

That being said,
My vote is to sign at least one solid free agent pitcher. Let the rest of the youngins fight it out in spring training out of Bailey, Cueto, Livingston, Maloney, Fisher, Gardner & Ramirez for the 4 & 5 spots.

at 2:42 AM Anonymous Justin Fernandez said...

1. Who the skipper?
A: Me, I'll be skipping every home game again until we get a new GM and owner (ones who know what the heck they're doing)

2. Does Adam Dunn stay or go?
A: STAY (he's NOT the problem)

3. Is Jeff Keppinger for real?

4. Who are the No. 3, 4 and 5 starters?
A: Mo, Larry, and Curly

5. Who closes?
A: Stanton--for the opposing team that is, usually around the 6th or 7th innings

6. Who's on first?
A: You mean, who's STRANDED on first? (usually a Red with the tying run).

7. Who sets up for the closer?
A: Bray or Pray (for a free agent trade)

8. Where does Jay Bruce fit in?
A: Starter

9. What's the payroll going to be?
A: Much, Much bigger or the Reds will suck more than in 2007

Weathers and Hatteberg and Stanton and Conine and Mastinksi and Bellhorn and Ellison need to be outta here! I know Hatteberg is a decent player but he's not good enough for a championship starting lineup, we need Votto or a re-trained Dunn at 1B or someone else. Hatteberg is a lifetime .273 hitter who is SLOW and who lacks power. Why the hell do so many of you LIKE HIM? You must LOVE mediocrity! He's NEVER going to be part of a winning Reds team.


Wake the hell up!

at 9:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

1.)Keep Mackanin unless you can get Larussa or Girardi.
2.)Dunn/Lohse/Milton should take 30 million off the payroll with Griffeys 13 million coming off in 2009. Take this money and sign a number 2 starter or an elite closer.
3.) Bruce/Hamilton/Griffey in OF- with Hopper/Freel as bench and starters against tough lefties.
4.) Keep HAtteberg- as a veteran bench guy and PH to teach Votto first.
5.) Keppinger plays 3B.
6.)Encarnacion can be a spot starter at first against tough lefties or depth at third.Encarnacion does nothing well,ranks in the bottom 1/3 of NL 3b in defense , strikes out a lot, hits for a low average and most importantly, plays a traditional power position in the majors second friendliest ball park- yet has single digits in HR and 48 Rbi's, less than Alex Gonzalez-the supposed lightweight hitting SS that nobody wanted becasue he cant hit. Encarnacion is the poster child for the dumbing down of Reds fans.
7.Outside of Bray/Weathers/Burton...go buy a new bullpen.
8.) Livingston/Bailey /Cueto/Belisle shou;d earn two of the spots.Zambrano cost 16 million a year. Dunn and Milton cost the Reds 20 million this year.Math is all relative.
9.) Quit giving roster spots to has-beens and never-will-be's. If you cant play.... you cant play, no matter what "value" Krivsky can sgin you for.

at 10:39 AM Blogger kingseyeland said...

1. Mackanin, if only to see what happens. I sure wouldn't sign him to any long extensions until I see how he works with a full season. LaRussa is a d-bag whose teams are often overstocked with talent and payroll but still lose in the clutch. Give him a team like the Reds with a low payroll and a lot of problems, and the result won't be much different. He might get .500 out of them, but not much more unless ownership brings in a ton of talent. He can't rally a team unless they have Pujols, Edmonds, Carpenter, McGwire, Canseco, etc. Muhammed Ali could win with the best players in the game.

2. You keep a guy who has 40 homers and 100+ RBI when you have no one else who can produce like that. People forget how other teams look at Dunn. The guy can beat them in one swing. Freel and Hopper can't. Someone's got to drive in runs and hit behind Griffey somewhere.

3. Let Kepp and Encarnacion play for 3B in the spring and see how that works out. If Kepp beats him out, trade Encarnacion for pitching. I'd also consider the same competition at SS.

4. Thing is, this organization has young pitching talent, but they don't know what to do with it. I could point to several young pitchers but what would be the point? If you want to win now, you trade or sign winners. Not retreads. You go out and you give an Eric-Milton-type contract to a pitcher who is not Eric Milton and is much better than Eric Milton and see what happens. See also: Jeff Suppan last winter.

5. People want to give this to Burton, who has had, what, a good month and a half? No career saves? Unless they start using him in that role this year, no way. Otherwise it's another year of Weathers.

6. I love Hatteberg, but they have to free Joey Votto. Bring the kid up now and let him play. Hatteberg only strengthens the bench and provides veteran leadership. Plus, Votto can play outfield if they want both in the lineup.

7. Burton until he blows it.

8. Hamilton and Griffey are injury prone. That should leave plenty of room for the Bruces and Vottos. Competition is healthy.

9. You could do all of the above with the same payroll they have this year, provided they don't waste $10-20 million on bad pitching.

at 10:49 AM Anonymous Gary214 said...

1. Mckanin...I was skeptical at first, but he is a MANAGER of the game...something his 2 predessors did not actually EXHIBIT!
2. Dunn stays!! He is a bargain at that price!
3. Platoon Kepp at 1st and 3rd.
4. Livingston and a Free agent. Bailey is not ready!
5. Weathers early, groom Burton and give it to him at midseason when you trade Stormy.
6. Hatteburg!!
7. See 5...and Bray in the mix.
8. Trade Freel, keep Hopper...mix in Bruce...voila! Both will get their playing time as Hamilton will always bounce on and off the DL!
9. Better be at least 90 mil!

at 12:23 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Good questions. How about one more?
Who will be the GM? I truly believe that Wayne Krivsky is just not capable of doing this job. He has gotten lucky on a couple of signings, but overall his performance stinks as bad as Stanton's. The Lopez, kearns fiasco proves my point. It is bad enough that he got so little in return for two young starting position players, but to have not thoroughly checked out the the health of the players in was receiving is inexcusable. Especially when dealing with Jim Bowden. This is in addition to the 2 year deals & contract extensions given to players like Stanton, Cormier, Coffey,Arroyo and Freel. Castellini has got to be getting tired of eating contracts.

at 3:56 PM Anonymous Red Faced. said...

1. Who the skipper? - Not sure, I think Brenley is most likely. Mac hasn't looked too bad though and I really like his matter of fact style

2. Does Adam Dunn stay or go? The Reds pick up his option and hold him until the July Trade Deadline.

3. Is Jeff Keppinger for real? Yes, I'd like to see Kepp playing 2nd base and Phillips trying out SS during the spring. I'm telling you he can flat out use the leather and I have no doubt he can play SS. Kepp is still a much solid SS than Gonzo has been this year and for the money is a super bargain. Trade Gonzales.

4. Who are the No. 3, 4 and 5 starters? I'd say Livingston, Bailey and someone else. Ramirez/Belisle perhaps but I'd like to see a free Agent here.

5. Who closes? FREE AGENT SIGNEE - this is where we spend our money this offseason. A proven closer, who is not past his prime. Perhaps an up and coming closer.

6. Who's on first? Pick up the Option on Hatteburg, Votto will share time with him this year. Next year it's all his if he doesn't just take it from Hatte by mid year. If so then Hatte gets dealt before the July Trade deadline.

7. Who sets up for the closer? Weathers and Bray. Both will be excellent for us in this role next year. Burton and Coutlangus will be solid as well.

8. Where does Jay Bruce fit in? He's going to play a lot in Louisville but may come up by mid year and be the equivelent of Hopper this year.

9. What's the payroll going to be? I'm sad to say it's going to be about the same +- 5 mil.

Who doesn't come back next year - Easy Eddie doesn't have his option picked up, Conine is gone, I wish Stanton were gone but I'm afraid he'll be back. I think we have to make some moves and that we could see any of these guys moved - Gonzo, Hopper, Belisle, Ramirez, MacBeth.

Starting Lineup------

1. Hamilton - CF
2. Keppinger - 2B
3. Griffey - RF
4. Dunn - LF
5. Phillips - SS
6. Hatteburg/Votto - 1B
7. Encarnacion - 3B
8. Ross/Valentin - C
9. Pitcher

Very good balance of Avg, speed, power, lefty/righty hitters, veterans and youth. excellent lineup if they produce like they can. Just my thoughts.

at 4:03 PM Blogger Jim said...

#1 Larussa or Brenly if you can't get Larussa.
#5 Weathers at first and try to ease Burton into the role.
All of the other questions are contingent upon whether or not Bruce and Votto can hit major league pitching. Any numbers that they may put up in September will not be representative of what they can or cannot do on a regular basis in 2008. If they had been brought up a month ago, little questions like what to do with Dunn and his $13 million salary in the off season would have been much easier to answer.

at 10:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Who the skipper? Mackanin. He's done a terrific job, and he'd come cheap. Give him a one-year deal with a club option for year two. I was a big fan of having a name manage the club, but Mackanin's the real deal. No need for a switch.

2. Does Adam Dunn stay or go? Dunn quite clearly stays. If the Reds had decided to cut ties with Dunner, they would have taken the best package of prospects they were offered, and we all know they were offered some. If they don't pick up their option, Krivsky will look really really stupid. He comes up with head scratchers like the Lopez/Kearns trade, and he's a PR nightmare, but stupid he's not ... and besides, Adam Dunn is decidedly not the problem.

3. Is Jeff Keppinger for real? Who knows. All I know is the guy's a gamer.

4. Who are the No. 3, 4 and 5 starters? Free agent, free agent and Bailey, not necessarily in that order. Belisle, Livingston, Dumatrait, and the Lizard have all been given good looks, and let's face it, they don't cut it.

5. Who closes? Burton. He's a poor man's Joe Nathan.

6. Who's on first? Joey Votto. Hatteberg's a nice guy, and he hits for average, but he's not particularly reliable with RISP, he doesn't move runners over all that well, and any guy who claims he couldn't swing at a pitch on a hit-and-run because "my shoulder just wouldn't allow me to" is way to flaky to play for a team anywhere near this zip code.

7. Who sets up for the closer?
Bray, Weathers and Coutlangus, assuming the latter can stop his annoying habit of walking guys.

8. Where does Jay Bruce fit in? Jay's a nice post-all star break call up to come off the bench and for defensive replacement purposes.

9. What's the payroll going to be?
Less than we want, more than we need to contend.

10. How did an Elder guy wind up being such a good sportswriter? Every once in awhile, a guy went somewhere other than St. X winds up doing ok. It's simply the law of averages.

at 10:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bring in LaRussa & a lot of the other problems will take care of themselves. Love him or hate him, the guy can manage.

In a strange way, the Cards taking the Series last season is one of the worst things that could happen to the Reds. Seems like Big Bob thinks they aren't far away, if they could just take the crappy NL Central & get lucky like St. Louis did in '06. A team that bad had never won the WS before and there is no reason to expect it to happen again anytime soon. But the Reds continue to set their sights low & hope they catch some breaks. Stop playing for 80 wins & try to build a club that might win 90+. The organization is in serious denial, talking about making a run this season. Admit the obvious & build for the future.

John Burroughs
Hyde Park

at 6:07 AM Anonymous Sedi said...

#1: Not LaRussa, I really have no clue. I just don't see LaRussa fitting in here and wanting to basically start from scratch.

#2: Dunn is gone

#3: Keppinger is a solid player, I see him settling at a .280-.290 hitter and SS is his original position..

#4: trade for TBD, Livingston, Bailey.

#5: Weathers has done a decent job, but someone else needs to fill that roll...who's available after the season?

#6: I say keep Hatty for one more year and bring up Votto and run out the dual 1st basemen again.

#7: Bray, EZ, Burton, Free Agent

#8: Depends if they actually trade Dunn or not. I suspect that Hamilton could be a free agent after the year.

#9: $85-90MM

at 9:23 AM Blogger Ron said...

1) The Reds will need to go with a different manager to please the fans. My guess is Brenly unless LaRussa is available.
2) Dunn is gone - He does what he does, but that doesn't produce a winning team. He's not a baseball player.
3) Keppinger is a baseball player. If I'm Krivsky, I count on Keppinger's baseball intelligence to make himself a solid major league shortstop and use Gonzalez as one of the ingredients in finding major league quality pitching. Encarnacion is still young and has shown potential both batting and fielding.
4) The Reds need to acquire a starting pitcher who can be the #1 starter, and move Harang to #2. Harang is good but doesn't provide the consistency needed to be #1. He's not going to win 1 - 0 yet on a consistent basis. A solid #1, Harang #2, Bailey #3, Arroyo #4, and Livingston #5.
5) The Reds need to acquire a closer and move Weathers back to set-up. A major league closer with Weathers as a back-up allows the rest of the bullpen to mature. Belisle can fill the long relief role.
6) Hatteberg stays and provides mentoring for Votto. When Votto matures enough to play everyday, make Hatteberg a hitting coach. He knows what it take to be a professional hitter.
7)As stated above, Weather is the set-up man and savings from other positions are used to acquire a closer.
8) Bruce is the starting left fielder. It's time to eliminate the old power outfield that has not produced run production when needed. Hopper starts in Center and leads off. He should have started from the beginning of this year. The Reds never had a legitimate lead-off hitter who can put pressure on the pitcher without him. Hamilton moves to right. Bruce takes over in left. Griffey is traded to Seattle to end his career where it began. 9) The payroll remains about where it is with the exception of a larger contract for the manager.
Question # 10, who is the catcher? Question #11, what do you do with Ryan Freel?

at 11:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Who the skipper?
NOT Mackanin! There's something about him that just isn't right. Get Girardi, I see a lot of young players coming up, and he should handle it all.

2. Does Adam Dunn stay or go?
GO!! His homers are more or less solo, and 100 RBI isn't good enough for me from him; someone of his productivity potential should produce 20 to 30 more RBI a year. He has bad defense, and k's in important situations. His contract is now getting cheap, so trade him for bullpen help.

3. Is Jeff Keppinger for real?
Oh yeah! He can just plain rake! And, he doesn't try to do more than he's capable [ahem, Freel, *cough*, Dunn]. Trade Encarnacion [his hitting abilities have left him, his defense is a crap shoot, and he just seems lazy now], put Kepp at third.

4. Who are the No. 3, 4 and 5 starters?
Bailey will no doubt turn himself around, and I'm calling for a Cole Hamels - type of year next year. Find some free agent [maybe from a Dunn trade?] for the #4 until Cueto is FULLY ready. Let Maloney, Livingston, Ramirez fight for the last spot [Dumatrait and Belisle aren't listed there for a reason].

5. Who closes?
Bray. He's slowly getting warmed back up to the bigs, but he'll get used to it soon. His stuff is just so awesome, I think he could close.

6. Who's on first?
Joey Votto. I think he'd hit well in our bandbox, and he'd be successful. His defense at first is a work in progress, but he'll hold his own. Resign Hatteberg, but as Votto's backup.

7. Who sets up for the closer?
Burton, no doubt. Amazing how this rule 5 guy comes here from AA, and is doing awesome. He's got some filthy pitches.

8. Where does Jay Bruce fit in?
Griff spends his final year with the Reds in right field, Hamilton gets center, and Hopper, Freel, and Bruce battle it out for right. More than likely, Bruce gets sent down, and is later called up. Hopper should start everyday until then, and seriously consider trading Freel.

9. What's the payroll going to be?
About 3 or 4 million more than this year's. We need one more starter, but almost a whole new makeover to our bullpen.

at 4:52 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

The Reds seem to be winning now,with Keppinger at SS(I don't expect it to continue though until the pitching is improved), leave him there til he proves that he can't do the job. Problem is Gonzalez in another K-Man acquisition that he paid too much for, going to be hard to deal him and with the money he is making they won't use him as a back-up. Pete Mackanin has done a great job, but this always happens when they change managers, remember the start that Narroon the Baffoon got off to last year. We need a proven winner. I would like to see Dunn traded and perhaps get a right handed power hitting first baseman. Then you could also deal Votto, if you could get a pitcher with a proven record of getting hitters out. Unfortunately, I don't think Mr Krivsky is capable of making these moves successfully.Could Cantu be the next George Foster (more likely the next Paul Householder).

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