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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, September 19, 2007

Mackanin on Keppinger and Hopper

Here's what Pete Mackanin had to say about Norris Hopper and Jeff Keppinger when asked if they were everyday players:

“They've proven that they deserve to be considered as everyday players."

Keppinger's hitting .338 in 198 at-bats, and Hopper's hitting .333 in the 273 at-bats. That's a good sample size. They've played well defensively.

But, the way the roster's made up now, it doesn't look like either would start on Opening Day 2008. Josh Hamilton's going to be in center; Alex Gonzalez's is going to be at shortstop. But because Hopper and Keppinger have done what they've done, the Reds might be willing to trade others to get them in the lineup, particularly if they can add to pitching in the process.


at 7:32 PM Blogger Kelly said...


Who do you consider tradeable, to me that is the problem? They don't have anyone other teams want.....

at 7:39 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I think you've got to look at trading Hamilton, Encarnacion, Freel, Keppinger or Hopper. Somebody of value. The free agent market for starting pitching is awful. I think they need a proven starter to compete. It's the old: You've got to give up something to get something.

at 7:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


If healthy Hamilton is a future all star. Even with his past trading him would be stupid. Of course you are talking about the Reds.


at 7:48 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

John, please explain to me why Gonzalez would start ahead of Keppinger, other than the fact that Krivsky is paying him far too much money.

By the way, an all out effort to rid this team of Griffey before another season starts should be mandatory. Hopper, Hamilton & Dunn in the OF and you still have Jay Bruce. Unless of course you can make a trade for quality pitching, which is unlikely.

One more question, do you have Griffey's stats since the All-Star game?

at 7:50 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Steve: You're right. He could be an all-star But durability is an issue, and they've got to improve the pitching.

at 7:53 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Votto is playing for a reason. He's the best bait they have.

But here's a thought: Trade Hopper and Keppinger.

at 8:00 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Gonzalez is better defensively and has more pop. And the contract is a factor.

Griffey is hitting .270 with seven home runs since the break. But the Reds are hitting .291 this Sept. They hit .226 last Sept. One of the big difference Griffey didn't play most of last Sept.

at 8:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trade Gonzo to the Jays or Sox. They both have some good pitching that they could spare; Toronto is looking for an SS for next year.

Griff just might accept a Seattle trade. The way he slobbered over that team and city when the Reds went there, and the fact that they're now contenders, might do it. If Bob nixes it because of Griff's "Almighty #600 Chase" I'd tell him, "his chase hasn't boosted the attendance any, but a winner will".

There's your spots for Hopper and Kepp. Freel? Trade him if you want, but he'd also work out in a super-sub role. Don't play him everyday; he'll kill himself. EE would provide a lot of offense with RISP next year. Our pitching isn't far off; we have Harang, Arroyo, possibly Shearn or Belisle; it depends on Bailey and Cueto coming around.

at 8:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds have to have some bench players in case of injuries, and perhaps the idea of a set every day starting 8 has gone the way of the Big Red Machine.

Josh Hamilton is the future RIGHT Fielder. Junior is not going to hold up forever and Jay Bruce plays CF.

The only major question is can they afford to sign Dunn long term? If not, then they have to pick up the option and trade him for what they can get in terms of pitching.

at 8:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Of course durability is a issue. But if you trade Hamilton, Dunn is going to walk in a year, and Griffey is getting old, Where is your power coming from? Not from Hopper and company. You can't just assume Jay Bruce will keep the power in the lineup.


at 8:24 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I think if they pick up Dunn's option -- and I think they will -- they have to consider trying to extend the contract.

I'm not saying they should or will trade Hamilton. I'm saying they've got to look at giving up something to get pitching.

at 8:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me we have a few arms in the minors that'll be able to help in the near future. You can't tell me the thought of Burton a healthy Bray and a sudden control master Salmon would not be a blessing.

I see no problem with keeping Gonzalez at ss,maybe freels time is up as the supersub and Keppinger can take it over. Keppinger plays a heck whole lot smarter than Freel.

at 8:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


You always have to give up something. You just don't give up the farm. Also, nobody will be trading the type of pitching the Reds need.


at 8:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

No way should they even look at, think about, discuss, or remotely consider trading Josh Hamilton.

Don't give Krivsky any bad ideas, let him stick to protesting meaningless games.

at 8:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

More than likely it will be Encarnacion who gets traded this off-season. Keppinger will be given the third base job, Freel will go back to his super-utility role, Hopper will be the fourth outfielder, Dunn will be traded midway thru next year when they feel Bruce is ready. If they win the World Series next year, they'll let Griffey go free agent. If they don't, they'll pick up Griffey's option.
I imagine they will package Encarnacion with several other players for a big name starter on a team that can't really do much. Like for example Roy Hallady. Not saying that's exactly what will happen, but....

at 9:17 PM Anonymous Jeff said...

Why would they trade Edwin? The guy looks like he could be good for 25/110 for the next 10 years. Trading Edwin would make as much sense to me as trading Brandon Phillips.

at 9:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Edwin is very young and it would be sad to see him traded because he is going to put up very good numbers over the next 10 years. I think people forget how young he is. You can't trade everyone who gets good. I forgot the reds can, because when you get good you make more money.

at 10:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there an option to rework Dunn's contract instead of picking up his option or do they have to pay him the $13 million for 2008?

Say they offer him $10 million over 7 years instead or something like that.


at 11:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

When singing the praises of Keppinger and Hopper, please refer to David Ross and his magical, yet completely flukey 2006 season.

Mediocre/crappy players will always revert to their mean.

at 11:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why you trade Encarnacion: he's the most easily replaced and he'll offer the highest value for what we need most----a top starter and maybe a good reliever who can pitch 2+ innings when needed.
At this time the Reds have more infielders who can do what we need them to do than outfielders. Jay Bruce is close, but not close enough. Pitching is the most critical need and teams will not be willing to give up a good starter unless they think they can negate that loss by scoring more runs. No one wants to see a repeat of the 1989 Sammy Sosa/Fred Manrique trade, but it is the risk we run

at 11:58 PM Anonymous Jeff said...

"This is why you trade Encarnacion: he's the most easily replaced."

How is it easy to replace a 24 year old 3b with an incredible amount of talent and a knack for knocking in runs. Maybe I'm just missing this one, but I have heard hes easily replaceable a lot lately.

at 12:27 AM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

This is why you trade Encarnacion: he's the most easily replaced and he'll offer the highest value for what we need most--a top starter and maybe a good reliever who can pitch 2+ innings when needed.

A guy who, in almost two full seasons of games, has yet to hit 20 homers or drive in 75, will bring a top starter and reliever?

Whatever fumes you're inhalin', put 'em out before the cops are beating on your door.

at 1:15 AM Anonymous redifil said...

I wouldn't be opposed to trading anybody for a front-line pitcher. The Reds aren't going anywhere without adding at least one solid starter, so no one — including Phillips — should be considered "untouchable," depending on who they would get (very few would be worth dealing Brandon, probably none that anyone would trade except possibly Johan Santana) and who else would have to be included.

at 7:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one guy who said nobody should be untouchable, including Phillips, is crazy! You have to have a nucleus to build around, and as far as I am concerned, this is becoming Brandon's team! He is the main man right now. Griffey's day is over...keep Dunn(how many guys can hit 40 hr's a yr. consecutively?)Platoon Hopper with Hamilton if Griffey is still here. Jay Bruce hasn't been up yet and is unproven to just hand him the job in CF. Keep EE and trade Gonzo for pitching help. Keppenger can handle SS. Ross isnt what he was cracked up to be. Find a young stud catcher somewhere. Keep Eddie G. and get rid of Stanton!!

at 8:50 AM Anonymous mikec said...

Why trade Hamilton? As John said you have to give up something to get something. Plus there is a risk reward. Hamilton looks good right now (except for the injuries). But there's always that risk with addicts. One relapse and his career is over. I hope that never happens whether he is a Red or not. But that's a factor.

at 11:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are Keppinger and Hopper the 2007 version of 1997's Chris Stynes and Jon Nunnally?

Just a thought.

at 1:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Anon 10:29 again...

Hopper and Keppinger are 27 & 28. The more that I think about it they seem more like fools gold than diamonds in the rough.

These guys aren't "young" talent.

The Reds should probably deal them if they can get anything.

at 3:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two .330 hitters and this poorly run organization might not have them in the starting lineup every day? What idiots. The giant suck-ing sound from the south is not only NAFTA...

This club should continue to produce sub .500 seasons for many years to come because they can't think their way out of a paper bag, let alone assemble a starting team that they stick with, and that represents the best talent available.

PHILLIPS (without question) 2B
KEPPINGER (no brainer) SS
ENCARNACION (no slow starts in 08 please) 3B
VOTTO (if they trade Votto in the offseason I will never go to a Reds game ever again) 1B

now the question becomes the Griffey-Dunn-Bruce-Hamilton "monster" and how to "feed" playing time to them...best let their health and their spring training results inform that decision...but 2 of those 4 players probably will not be on the Reds by 2009, if good pitching can be found for them.

And put Weathers, Dunn, Stanton, Gonsalsa, and Valentin on diets in the off-season. Where is the discipline? This organization is a mess in so many ways.

at 3:59 PM Blogger Ron said...

All the discussion about who is tradeable and who to trade fails to consider what the Reds need to put a viable TEAM on the field. They don't need to replace the HR totals for Griffey and Dunn. They need to put a team on the field that can win. That means Hopper is in center and leads off - He has proven he can get on base at every level. Keppinger is at SS and bats second. Phillips bats 3rd. Encarnacion bats 4th. Hamilton is in RF and bats 5th with Cantu as a backup. Votto is at !B and bats 6th. Bruce is in LF and bats 7th for the start. Valentine and Ross share C and bat 8th. Griffey goes back to Seattle where he can DH part of the time. Dunn's contract is not picked up. Gonzalez, Freel, and prospects are combined to acquire a reliable starter. There are some possibilities in the Free Agent market that might be worth a chance including Kris Benson. Cueto, Shearn, Livingston, Dumaitrait, Belisle, Murphy battle for the fifth starter. Castro or Lopez provide the defensive back-up for Keppinger in late innings, if that is really needed.
The Reds need to break out of trying to be an American League team (sit and wait for the big home run) and play National League baseball. I'd have the pitchers working all off season on the fine art of laying down a bunt. My expectation as general manager or manager would be that pitchers can hit, if they are given the chance and the preparation.
I'm not a Griffey basher, but he is 38 and injury prone. It doesn't make sense to hold back the transition to a younger team for him. Dunn is a valuable player but not to the Reds. His home runs and rbi totals do not lead to wins.
Finally, hire a manager that will give the team some swagger. The Reds need to own GABP and walk onto every other field with the attitude that the home team has to steal the game from them to win. Umpires need to know that they are going to catch Holy H if they don't give Reds pitchers the calls on the corners. Pitchers need to stop talking about not making mistakes and stop making mistakes. Agression in the strike zone, aggression at bat, agression on the basepaths = victories.

at 6:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a Griffey basher, but he is 38 and injury prone.

When the Reds got him he was 30 and injury prone...

Oh well...even Seattle is not going to give much for JR now...

at 6:31 AM Anonymous George hale said...

OMG, Fay: Trade Griffey, Jr. With his history of injuries, he's of no value defensively and offensively he's a sideshow to 600 and then that's it! Look at the future. Griffey, Jr. would be better off DH'ing for the Yankees. These guys you want to trade won't be anywhere in five years. Let it play out. Get the bad attitude, injury prone, retired on the job, Mama's boys off the bus, and get some players on the bus.

at 2:17 PM Anonymous Harold Schuler said...

To get Hopper and Keppinger into the everyday lineup, trades will have to be made. The thing that makes me cringe is the thought of having Hatteberg, Keppinger, Cantu and Votto split time at first-base next year. This spells another sub-.500 season.

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