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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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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Astros 4, Reds 3

Take Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. out of the Reds offense and it doesn't quite work, especially when Scott Hatteberg, Alex Gonzalez and Josh Hamilton are hurt as well.

A great outing by Matt Belisle -- seven innings, two runs, three hits -- was wasted. Reds are down to three over since Pete Mackanin took over.

Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey are going to pitch like Belisle did for the Reds to have a chance against the Cubs.


at 2:02 AM Anonymous Jeff said...

I don't think its fair to judge Mackanin by the last couple weeks of this season. He has had a really bad team, and when the guys that will be around next year were playing for him, they were playing really bad. I hope they keep the guy, and don't go after Mr. Cheater Tony LaRussa.

at 7:12 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its actually good Griffey and Dunner are out for the Cubs series. As a Reds' fan living in Chicago, I get to root for the Cubs in down Reds' years. Hopefully, the Reds will start Jason Ellison, Jorge Cantu and the rest of their stiffs and use Stanton and Decaf as their key late-inning setup guys. Go Cubbies!!!

at 8:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Look at the outfield -- my guess is that the pay for Votto, Ellison, and Hopper -- in total -- approximate, what, a million dollars or so?

Obviously, with an outfield of Dunn & Griffey costing the team close to 23 million dollars -- you are going to get more production than the million dollar outfield that the Reds had out in the field last night. The Reds need Dunn.

I am sure Ellison is a nice guy -- but he should not be starting. Hamilton should play CF & he is inexpensive still. Votto belongs at 1b, though perhaps they are playing him in LF because the Reds are contemplating not picking up Dunn's option. The Reds probably figure dumping Griffey is impossible & may wish to spend the money on Dunn on pitching.

The Reds would not miss a beat if they traded Gonzo & plugged Keppinger at SS full time. Of course, Gonzo is not likely tradeable either -- Keppinger has been such a pleasant surprise that he should play regularly.

The Reds should absolutely dump Freel in the offseason if possible -- his best days are behind him.

at 9:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yawn. The Astros pitched well and beat the Reds' for 8 innings before the Reds beat themselves yet again. Same old story. If the other team can't be the Reds, the Reds often help out.

at 9:34 AM Blogger Hey Barry Larkin! said...

Come on out to the ballpark this weekend Reds fans! I'm very sick of going to Cubs series' in Cincy and being outnumbered. Let's say we pack the house against the Cubbies and root on the Redlegs. I mean, you don't really want to see Chicago in the postseason do you???? Let's go Redlegs! Let's go Brewers!

at 10:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's what I've been saying, we need a better hitting coach. Brook Jacoby helped with a few things, like lowering Dunn's strikeout totals. But the most important thing that needed improving was the Reds situational hitting. They leave too many on base and seem to constantly get outsmarted in the clutch. I really believe the pitchers would relax and pitch better if they felt secure enough in their run support. I think they sometime go out there thinking, "it's all up to me and me alone". This kind of tension makes mistakes.
This is not to say the pitchers don't have any problems of their own. Even more than Jacoby, I think Dick Pole needs to be replaced. I don't think he has related to the pitching staff. I remember Arroyo had said something earlier about not being able to prepare properly in the days before his starts. Shouldn't this be something the pitching coach helps with?
It seemed to me that when some of the pitcher went to the minors and then were called back up, they pitched better for their fist few games back. It's as if Ted Power told them something useful at Louisville that Pole wasn't telling them with the Reds. Has anyone else noticed this?
The upshot of it is this: replace Pole and Jacoby. I don't know if Mackanin will be back, but replacing these 2 coaches will be a step in the right direction

at 10:59 AM Blogger Mark said...

Made the 3 hour trip to the ballpark last night.
ENCARNACION has some mighty swings. He is a different player since his stint in the minors.
BELISLE deserves to be in this rotation. Still wonder why he seems to lose his edge after 5 or 6 innings though.
MAJEWSKI is erratic and undisciplined as a pitcher and fielder. This guy has to go somewhere. I don't care if he does better elsewhere because he isn't going to turn that corner here.
MACKANIN probably won't be back next year. Still he did better than expected with his inheritance.

at 11:05 AM Blogger SolarAl said...

I like Pete, but his game management could be a lot better. Use the material you have (speed) - which he does not.

And when your player make stupid moves like Ross did - you are going to lose a lot of games you should win. Stupid offense loses as much as poor defense

at 11:29 AM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Seems everyone keeps grasping for straw excuses on the season and certain players. One of the things overlooked is some of these players are simply flawed in certain aspects and there's no coach in history going to make them what they're not.

Additionally, I often point out the disadvantages the Reds have in attacting players--free agents, non-tendereds and even those to agree to a trade. Many of you like to say Krivsky is an idiot, but you simply have to understand the landscape of the Reds' situation in luring players before giving him his crown:

1.) The team is not a contender;

2.) It's not in a big market;

3.) It has payroll limitations because of the market/broadcast revenues;

4.) There's not a pitcher in his right mind going to pitch in that park if he has better team and ballpark options;

5.) You have to grossly overpay to get these people to agree to pitch in that park;

6.) The city's reputation the past 10 years for diversity, conservatism and progressiveness is pathetic. That's no small point with minority players;

7.) The neglect and ignorance of the previous two ownerships has put the entire organization in such dire straits that it might take 10 years to recover;

8.) The oft-changing of GMs, managers and coaches shows agents and players instability. Players talk, and when asked if they should come to the Reds, what kind of answers do you think they get?

9.) The upper tier of the minor league system is so devoid of quantifiable talent and depth;

10.) Without adding three quality pitchers--one starter, two in the bullpen--2008 will be another building-block year.

And on the subject of coaches, it'll be interesting to see what happens but the comment about Ted Power has some legs. Seems Brook Jacoby has done alright.

at 12:08 PM Blogger kingseyeland said...

Totally agree about Majewski. This experiment needs to end because he's not getting any better despite numerous trips to AAA and numerous chances. Wayne needs to man up and admit that trade flat out didn't work, and do something to fix the problem he helped create. (And that's not signing another Mike Stanton.)

This week's losing streak really has me wondering what would happen if we got a look at Jay Bruce and/or Chris Dickerson instead of these castoffs. They can't possibly be any worse.

at 12:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving some validation to my comment about Power. I really thought Belisle, Livingston and Saarloos (for example) pitched a few good games when they first got back from the minors and then started getting shelled when they started working with Pole more closely. He's not reaching the staff, somehow.
(Wild idea----he was a coach for the Cubs last year. Maybe they sent him over to sabotage the Reds? ;\)
Frivolousness aside, I think you may also be onto something about management instability. It was bad enough that Bowden made moves completely on impulse while O'Brien over analyzed his ideas to the point where he couldn't see how they should not work (Eric Milton in a hitters park? Why not?). It did not help that they chose managers who could not make decisions and stick to them. I don't think Mackanin is the solution. I think he and Krivsky second guess eachother so much, there will be serious conflict if it continues. Mackanin seems to have the problem of not being able to stick to a decision AND being second guessed by his boss.
Luckily, with the free agent market so thin this year, Krivsky will have to build thru trades. This means players traded to the Reds will have no choice but to play for whatever they signed for. The Reds might end up with another bargain surprise the way Arroyo was in 06.

at 1:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Redlegs makes some good points.

It will always be near impossible to get the best free agent out there because the money isn't there. Until fans are willing to pay prices that the Cubs, NY, and Boston pay for seats to games, Mr. Lohse could be the best free agent you will sign with the Reds. The best pitchers in the last few years (think Japan) went to a couple big market teams.

Until the Reds get the minors running and a Latin development system running, a job O'Brien did and Krisky does focus on a lot, is a lot more important to the Reds than a quick fix. I rather have a long term fix than a one year wonder.

The good news is if the Reds stay on target, they could be 1-2 years away from starting something special (in a good way). This offseason and next are crucial. A good run to the playoffs, and correct mid-term/long term contract signings will set this team up.

Side note: If Krisky is more like Marvin Lewis in a press conference I will take that if the team wins for the long term.

Some players might see conservatism as bad, but at least the people are employed which happen if the reverse happen. So that is something I rather have that a free agent. :)


at 1:55 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

I'm not one to defend Jim Bowden on many levels, personally or professionally, but given the financial restraints he faced in payroll for the big league roster, and especially in drafting and player development, he worked many, many times out of desperation to find players.

Thus, the annual influx of cast-offs and retreads, or what might be called "Loose Lightning For An Airtight Bottle."

The problem with the Reds making trades is what they have to offer. Fans don't want to trade away the parts that can actually bring some return; no GM is dumb enough to give up top-flight pitching for the pieces many of you think need to be dealt.

I was watching the Giants on MLB.TV one night and Giants GM Brian Sabean was on for an inning. He made a helluva point about rebuilding his team and the state of the game that directly parallels the Reds' challenges this offseason.

He said the Giants were lucky to have some young pitchers develop and they would be shopping for a couple of big bats. "Those are easy to find. But if we had to go out and find pitching . . . ." he paused, "well, I wouldn't want to be in that situation right now."

Many of you want to crucify the front office and ownership for not magically delivering pitching and pennant contention. Consider the 10 reasons I stated above, then look at the free agent list, then look at the team ERAs around MLB, then look at what the Reds--and about 20 other teams--need for 2008, and you'll quickly see and hopefully understand what the ol' Redlegs are up against.

at 3:04 PM Blogger kingseyeland said...

For the first time in years, the Reds actually have 3-4 good (or decent to promising) starters going into next year in Harang, Arroyo, Belisle, and possibly Bailey. This is a far cry from the Jimmy Anderson/Jimmy Haynes/Paul Wilson/Ryan Dempster/Danny Graves rotation of a few years ago. Point being, this team has *some* starting pitching. Considering this was Belisle's first full season as a starter, 8-9 with an ERA over 5.00 is tolerable for a back-of-the-rotation guy.

The failings of the last *two* seasons can be laid squarely on an inept bullpen. Hitters slump and starting pitchers go through funks, but they always come out of it. This team has LOADS of offense in addition to a few quality starters.

The bullpen, on the other hand, has been mostly shaky for two years, save for the emergence of Burton and the mostly reliable presence of Weathers (I say mostly because 33 saves is great and all, but that 2-6 record could've cost him his job on most contending teams). NO other relievers have been remotely as effective, and frankly when your most effective relievers are a Rule 5 guy and a David Weathers, you're in trouble.

Reds starters combined to go 48/53 with an ERA of 4.76. The bullpen combined to go 23-33 with an ERA of more than 10.00. (I'm sure my math isn't perfect, but it's accurate.)

Now ask yourself, what's the real pitching problem with this team?

And saying relief pitching is expensive is just crazy. Look at the D'Backs and Cubs. Their bullpens are full of guys who make less than $1 million and have been great, and look where they are right now.

Meanwhile, Krivsky throws a 2-year deal at Mike Stanton? Yeah, relief pitching is expensive...when you don't know what you're doing!

at 4:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kingseyeland .... take Harang out of the starting pitchers stats and what do you have?

Reds need some consistency in the starters.

Bill in VB

at 4:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The expiration of Milton's contract frees $9 million in salary. If the Reds released Griffey and Dunn outright, it would free another $26 million, if not more. You can't tell me this club would not be better in 2008 with Griffey and Dunn gone and $35 million in starting and relief pitching added. A starting outfield of Grasshopper, Freel and Bruce works for me, particularly if the $35 million buys you two Ted Lillys and a bona fide closer.

at 4:25 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Why do some of you do this to yourselves. . . ?

And saying relief pitching is expensive is just crazy. Look at the D'Backs and Cubs. Their bullpens are full of guys who make less than $1 million and have been great, and look where they are right now.

Arizona Bullpen:
Valerde ($2 mil), raised in system
Pena ($381,000), raised in system
Lyon ($1.5 mil), Schilling trade in 2003
Slaton ($380,000, MLB min.), raised in system
Cruz, ($1.4 mil), traded three times in 2 years.
Gonzalez, ($487,500), raised in system
Nippert ($380,000), raised in system
Medders ($390,500), raised in system
Peguero ($380,000), raised in system
Petit ($380,000), trade with Marlins

Cubs Bullpen:
Wuertz ($415,000), raised in system
Marmol, ($380,000), raised in system
Ohman ($900,000), raised in system
Guzman ($380,000), raised in system
Cotts ($400,000), trade with Whiter Sox for 2 minor league pitchers (see the cost?)
Gallagher ($380,000), raised in system
Hart ($380,000), raised in system
Petrick ($380,000), raised in system

Howry, Eyre and Dempster--the back of the Cubs' bullpen--are free-agent signees who combine for $13.8 million this year alone).

But hey, Krivsky is an idiot for not picking up other teams' cheapos when, ya know, they are farm-raised and they're neither free agents nor non-tendered or on the waiver wire. In fact, many spent the majority of the year in the minors.

And what do they have in common? Raised in the system! What have some of us been telling you about the Reds' organization health? Right here's great evidence of the situation. There's no quick cure, no magic pill, no overnight delivery when you are so weak in your system.

So look a page deeper at the players next time instead of just looking at salaries and making random screams of organizational stupidity. Turns out the front office wasn't so stupid after all.

at 4:27 PM Blogger John Fay said...

if you release griffey, you still have to pay him $12.5 mill plus the buyout on the option. Lilly 's not available. Louse is the free agent starter.

at 4:32 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Well, you could trim $35 mil from the payroll but you still have salary escalations on multi-year deals and annual raises, so eliminate about $8 mil-$10 mil there. Essentially, MIlton's salary.

Then, look at the list of free agent pitchers.


Where's the Lillys, Meches, Speiers? This year's best free agent pitcher is . . . Kyle Lohse.


Best keep that cash until 2009.

at 5:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 3:13
We have seen the last week what this team would be like without griffey and dunn. I think you better rethink your position on saving all that money. You are putting way too much in your outfield lineup you want.

at 5:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some team would likely take Griffey for a couple of prospects, then you're out from under his contract. You're right this is a lean year for starting pitchers, and but Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia would be good adds. I wouldn't resign Lohse under any circumstances. He's a big tease, and not a good fit for GABP.

at 6:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also keep in mind that Kyle Lohse is a client of Scott Boras. Boras will demand the blood from a turnip and the turnip itself, no matter who he's trying to sell you. If any of you followed the Matsuzaka negotiations with the Red Sox last winter, you know the kinds of games Boras plays. The funny thing is how the Red Sox ended up out smarting Boras by paying him a surprise visit and forcing him to make a deal.

But in the end, it likely wouldn't be worthwhile to deal with him, certainly not for Lohse. I just read that he was Jay Bruce's agent when the Reds drafted him, but Bruce quickly fired him when Boras told him to hold out for the 05 season

at 12:28 AM Blogger kingseyeland said...

Random screams of organizational stupidity?

Yeah, most of those guys were raised through the D'Backs' and Cubs' systems. Why can't the Reds do that? Dan O'Brien had two years as GM and now Krivsky has had two years as well.

How long does it take to draft well and raise your own talent? Four years?

Sounds like the organizational stupidity thing is still holding up. When it comes to cultivating pitching, this organization has no clue. It just happens that a few savvy trades got them the three quality starters they have in Arroyo, Harang, and Belisle.

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