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From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

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 26, 2007

Astros 7, Reds 6 -- Phillips gets No. 30

Brandon Phillips finally got it. He lined one out to right field in the first inning for his 30th home of the year.

He joins Barry Larkin and Eric Davis in the Reds 30-30 club. Phillips is only the second second baseman to do it -- Alfonzo Soriano is the other. Jimmy Rollns and David Wright are the other major leaguers to reach 30-30 this year.

Phillips pumped his fist as it went out and took a curtain call later. I'm happy for the guy. He plays the game with great emotion. He was happy to get a second chance on his career. And 30-30 meant a lot to him because Larkin is his hero. (Note to the Reds: Get Larkin in for Redsfest and have him a Phillips do a panel together).

“It hasn’t settled in yet,” Phillips said. “I still can’t believe I achieved a goal that only one other second baseman has done it. It’s amazing. It’s a good feeling to be the same category with my favorite player growing up (Barry Larkin). It’s a blessing.”

I asked Pete Mackanin if Phillips was just scratching the surface of what he can do. Silly question. What's he going to do go 50-50? After he pointed that out, Mackanin gave a good answer:

“I don’t think he’s ever going to hit 40 or 50 homes runs,” Mackanin said. “The thing about him is: Was this a career year or is he going to continue to do it? I choose to believe this is the type of year he can put together year to year. I don’t think he’s a one-time 30-30 guy. I think he’s going to do it many more times in the future.”

Phillips' home run gives the Reds three players with 30 or more -- Phillips, Adam Dunn (40), Ken Griffey Jr. (30). It's only the third time the Reds have done that. The other trios: Johnny Bench (45), Tony Perez (40) and Lee May (34) in 1970; Frank Robinson (38), Wally Post (36) and Ted Kluszewski (35) in 1956.


32 Comments:

at 8:24 PM Blogger Dan H said...

How about a gold glove to cap off his great year!! The Reds infield for 2008 is looking real good with or without Votto. I've stated before I believe Votto could be used for trade bait but the more i see him hit, if he is moved, it better be a quality starter received in return( at least a #2 with a few years ML experience). Votto has impressed with his hitting! I believe Jay Bruce will be even more impressive when he finally gets to Cinci. But its the pitching they positively must improve and the only way to do that is trade something good for something good in return. How about getting Larkin back in the Reds organization!

 
at 8:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard rumours that Josh Hamilton may be on the trading block. Please tell me it aint so!

 
at 8:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are completely out of your mind to even think about trading Joey Votto.

 
at 8:47 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I think the Reds have to trade someone of value to get a starting pitcher. The Reds are sixth in the NL in runs and 15th in ERA. So if you can upgrade the pitching by moving a Votto or Hamilton, you've got to look at it.

 
at 8:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it incredulous that just as the Reds seem to be developing the long-awaited nucleus of young players (Hamilton, Votto, Bruce, Phillips, Encarnacion, Keppinger, etc) people want to trade them.

Really, what are you thinking?

 
at 9:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone keeps saying Votto would be good trade bait and they would get a good starter for him. This is the kind of thinking a Dan O'Brien or a Jim Bowden would use. Votto is going to be the Reds 1B next year. He will need a full season at the Major League level to determine his value, for one thing. It's very rare that teams would give up a whole lot for a prospect.
The one player on this team who really will command a high value is Encarnacion. His current upside is huge and evryone will be expecting him to have a breakout year next year. He's the one who should be dealt for a top line starter. If, for example, the Rays wanted to unload Kazmir, a straight trade would be no problem. On the other hand, if the Yankees were willing to move Chien-Ming Wang (doubtful, I know), the Reds would have a better chance packaging EE with 2 or 3 others.
This is of course all speculation

 
at 9:06 PM Blogger Dan H said...

Anon 736 if the pitching staff had a team ERA around 4.20-4.30 I'd never even think of trading Votto or Hamilton for that matter. Votto looks like the real deal for sure. But a ERA of 5.00 and a bullpen ERA over 5 will NOT get you a first place or wild card finish. This is 7 consecutive years below 500 How many more years do Reds fans keep saying to wait for next year when all we do is sign the likes of Milton,Haynes, Jimmy Anderson, Santos, Manzanillo, White, etc. No decent free agent pitchers this winter so the only way to really improve is via trade and minor league development.

 
at 10:14 PM Anonymous Gary214 said...

By all means, trade Hamilton. We got him for basically nothing, his high salary years are ahead of him...we have depth in the outfield, especially with Wonderboys Bruce and Stubbs waiting in the wings. Get a proven pitcher by trading him (and whoever) and let someone else deal with his propensity for injury.

 
at 10:52 PM Blogger Jim said...

Congratulations to Brandon Phillips. He plays the game the right way and deserves all of his success.

This team has a glut of outfielders and horrible pitching. We need at least 2 starting pitchers and 3 relievers. The free agent market for starting pitchers is terrible. The only way you're going to plug these holes is to trade someone of value.

 
at 11:12 PM Anonymous MONEY MIKE said...

It appears that we are getting off subject here, so back to the main subject. Congrats Brandon. You are the epitomy of class. He goes out that every day and gives it his all. Yeah, we the 30/30 club was directly in his sights he made his game a bit personal and wasnt playing as a team player, but who can blame the guy. The Barry Larking of this era? Maybe so. I know its sacreligous to say that but I def. see something the reds can build their franchise around. Congrats once again Brandon, and make sure you go into the city to Saks so you can buy your members only jacket.

 
at 11:16 PM Anonymous MONEY MIKE said...

Oh now I can get off subject since I just posted on the subject. Trading Hamilton...whatever you guys are crazy for even thinking that. From both a business perspective and talent perspective. The man puts rears in the seats and watching him play is a thing of beauty. Hamilton will be with the Reds for years to come and if not well...well that wouldnt suprise me because the office seems to have a lot of lapses of judgements.

 
at 7:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phillips is a joy to watch play the game. Congratulations, Brandon!!! If Krivsky had his way, he'd probably trade Phillips for another Curley/Mo (Bray/Majewski) tandem ... and trading Hamilton and Votto is ludicrous. Yes, they would command value, but the Reds have got to build a team around their young nucleus ... and Hamilton and Votto are unquestionably part of that nucleus. Trade Griffey, Ross, Hatteberg, Gonzo, Belisle, Stanton, the Lizard, but not the young guys with high ceilings.

 
at 8:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary and John...

you both seem to forget that hitting with runners on base was just as big a problem with the reds as is pitching. With the addition of Keppinger Hopper etc..and with players like Hamilton, Phillips, etc...there has been improvement.. better chemistry

Again, it gets back to the salaries of Dunn and Griffey and the debilitating affect it has on this clubs ability to spend money for pitching

Stubbs and Bruce may be good in the majors..they may not

Get Griffey out of here take his 12 million, Miltons 9 million etc..you have some money for pitching

We finally..as it appears ..have a good nucleus of players and you all want to trade them away ..You sound like the old bengals fans and frankly are rather pathetic

 
at 9:41 AM Anonymous Gary214 said...

Anon 7:11.... I love Hopper (would rather have him than Freel), Kepp (look at him as an Aurilia type who can play several positions), Votto ( the guy LOOKS like a ballplayer), and Phillips (the best 2nd baseman in the game). But, in my opinion, Hamilton is expendable. Pardon me for repeating myself, but he is an injury waiting to happen. He was on the DL 6 times the last time he was a regular player, and has been out 3 times this year for various reasons. My reasoning for wanting to trade him is that he might be attractive for a team wanting to dump a proven pitcher (and his salary) for a talented 26 year old with a huge upside (and very low salary). As I said in my previous post...let someone else deal with his injuries...because they are going to happen!!! You cannot build around a guy who can't play!! Bowden found that out with Griffey...why do you want to revisit that same scenario with Hamilton?

I have faced the fact that we have JR for better or worse...and I don't blame him for what has or hasn't happened since he came here! It was a Bowden move that didn't pan out! As big a name as he is...he is not trade material! We got a good season out of him and for that I am thankful...and I hope there is one more next year...because he is going to be here!! I like Hopper in center (with maybe Bruce at some point next year), and I like the prospect of getting something for Hamilton while he is hot...because an everyday player he is not!! (Did I just do that?)

 
at 9:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again if you move Griffey and Dunn to get rid of their salary, what mediocre pitcher are you wantimng to bring in here? Are ready to overpay for a guy that will have you saying next year that the Reds overspent?

Also it's going to take more than Votto or EE alone to land a qaulity starter. The best way the Reds will get quality pitching is if they ever figure how to draft and develop their own. Youd think Krivsky would have somewhat of an idea about it after working with the Twins.

As far as trading Votto...why? Seems everyone has always been about have a banger at first base and it appears he has a chance to be that.

 
at 10:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Dunn over Griffey -- . Unfortunately, the Reds are probably stuck with Griffey. This guy is likely untradeable. While Griffey has great talent -- he has never won anywhere -- and I think he is a bad influence in the club house. Who likes him? Based upon comments from other players -- no one.

However, if the Reds could somehow dump Griffey -- i.e. even if they get only a draft pick or minor league player or nothing but a salary dump -- they should do it, provided they use the 11M that they pay him on pitching.

I would keep Dunn on the team.

I am not a Griffey basher -- however, it is clear that no one in the club house likes him, with the possible exception of Dunn. Look at the comment by Phillips a few weeks ago when he did not hustle on a play & asked not to be compared to others in the clubhouse in that regard. It was clear that he was referring to Griffey, particularly when Griffey responded by citing to his nearly 600 meaningless homeruns -- Griffey is a loser -- primarily because of his bad attitude. He had a similar comment to Hamilton earlier in the year.

Griffey is a CANCER. Reds -- please get rid of this guy -- dumping Griffey is addition by subtraction -- provided that you use the money spent on him on pitching. Plug Jay Bruce in his spot next year in RF.

Unfortunately, Griffey will probably not agree to go anywhere next year -- so the REds are stuck with him. However, if there is an opportunity to move him, please do. If they are stuck with him, drop him in the batting order to 4th or 5th. He does not hit for high enough average to be the #3 hitter -- he is not the best hitter on the team.

 
at 10:47 AM Blogger Phill said...

Anon 7:11,

Freeing up money for pitching when this year the well is dry won't help. Unless you want to see the Reds give Kyle Lohse that Jeff Suppan or Gil Meche money which is going to happen.


The ONLY way the Reds are going to improve their pitching staff is by farm system or by trading. With trading you need to give good to get good.

 
at 12:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:19,

I agree with your assessment 1000%. I believe I would even seriously consider eating his salary just to get him out of the club house.

Phil,

I also agree with you. How does that old song go?

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'

 
at 1:14 PM Anonymous CHEVIOT SPORTS AUTHORITY said...

Wouldn't you guys miss Junior's 400' singles and conceited, cry-baby attitude?

I might even buy a ticket if they got rid of the lazy, self-centered, money eating albatross.

Even more importantly, the Reds might even win a few more games without Griffey's pathetic approach to the game influencing the younger players. Thank you Brandon Phillips for saying it like it is and for playing the game the right way. I think BP actually regretted his lapse of judgment a couple of weeks ago and I doubt that it will be repeated in the near future.

We will probably be stuck with one more year of KGJ, but there is no way that the Reds will bring him back after his contract finally expires.

 
at 1:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trading Votto or Hamilton would be incredibly stupid, which makes it likely that Krivsky will do so. Junior should have been traded mid-year when he was red-hot. Every year the Reds fail to trade him during a hot streak and he just gets older and acquires new injuries. He'll be worthless soon. Junior is all about bad attitude and frailty.
Barbaro go home (to Seattle)

 
at 1:30 PM Blogger John Fay said...

CSA: It always comes back to Griffey with you. It gets tiresome. There are worse guys to be stuck with the ones who hit .278 with 30 homers and 92 RBI in 140 games. He is far from perfect, but he is not the reason the Reds are where they are.

 
at 3:17 PM Anonymous CSA said...

John,
I did not bring up the Griffey subject, only agreed with some earlier posters. He is not the only reason that the Reds are losing but his attitude certainly contributes to it. His attitude stinks and his salary could be much better spent. I think that we both know that. We also both know that he will be back next year because they can not find anyone willing to take him. Yes, his first half stats were excellent this year, his second half so-so and his September terrible as usual. I have never doubted his ability to put up numbers.

The season is over, the Reds suck for the seventh year in a row and my Griffey comments are no more 'tired' than the Reds constant losing.

I enjoy your Insider, even if you do seem to be a Griffey fan. See you next season.

 
at 3:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John -

The Reds have lost every year that Griffey has played for the Reds. You are right, however, if the Reds increased their payroll to 90 or 100M, then the 11M or so that they pay Griffey would not matter. However, when your highest paid player (or close to it next to Dunn) does not exhibit an attitude that indicates that he cares about winning (his past resistance to not play CF), comments about other players, it just seems to me that Griffey may fit in better elsewhere.

Again, if the Reds would increase their payroll, then I am all for keeping Griffey -- however, if the Reds simply stand pat over the winter, they will again lose 85-90 games. Since Griffey got injured, the Reds have had no trouble scoring runs - however, of course, their pitching continues to give up tons of runs as well.

In fairness to Griffey -- with his salary and age -- he belongs on a team with a higher payroll. This team with its payroll, with Griffey's production for pay, equals another failing season.

John: Are there many position players, at Griffey's pay, that you would rather not have? I don't think anyone can make a case that Griffey has been a good deal for the Reds over the past seven years. Of course, you defended Conine as well --

I would love to have Griffey on the team if the Reds had a 90M-100M payroll -- he, with his attitude and production, however does not seem to fit on this Reds' team particularly given that he does not seem to get along with other core players on this team (e.g. Phillips and Hamilton)

 
at 4:39 PM Anonymous Gary214 said...

Why does everyone claim that Jr doesn't get along with the team? I am from KY and know Austin Kearns and his family...AK always speaks highly of him...and it seems when Phillips makes one of his patented hotdog plays of the game, that he and JR have some playful banter going on immediately after. AS for his attitude, I saw enough of that when he hurled that ball underhanded to Phillips to save a run in Chicago...he didn't have to do that...and it probably hurt like hell!!

 
at 4:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

ESPN is reporting that Nuxie is battling cancer again. May God Bless the 'ol lefthander!

 
at 5:04 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I think Griffey gets bashed a lot cause the salary. 47 percent of the what he got was deferred. The old ownership chose not to account for that way.

Without checking the stats, here's guys did less for similar money:

Richie Sexson $15.5 million
J.D. Drew $14 million
Todd Helton $16.6 million
Jason Kendall $12.8 million
Johnny Damon $13 million
Scott Rolen $12.5 million
Pat Burrell $13.2 million

 
at 5:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary -

The Reds sent Austin Kearns to minors because of a bad attitude/for dogging it a year ago & was ultimately traded because of a bad attitude. In case you have not been paying attention, Kearns plays for the Nationals. Heck, maybe Bowden would take Griffey again -- but my guess is that Bowden is not that stupid.

Your mentioning that Kearns & Griffey were friends further supports the attitude point. Unfortunately, Griffey rubbed off on Kearns too leading to Kearns' exit from this team.

That being said, I would love to have Griffey on the Reds, if the Reds would increase their payroll. However, Griffey eats up too much payroll in comparison to his relative value to this team.

 
at 5:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John -

Thanks for the posting of comparison players re: pay.

Any chance that the Reds will ever increase payroll in the neigborhood of the Cubs and Cards? If they would, then I am all for keeping Griffey.

Regarding the comparison players that you did name, my bet is that none of those players account -- on a percentage basis -- for as much as Griffey does to the Reds' payroll. That is not a basis to bash Griffey -- however, it is reason to dump him from this team -- the team obviously has not, and will not, win with him if the team's payroll is in the 60-70M range.

 
at 5:23 PM Blogger John Fay said...

You are correct on the percentages. But the odd thing was the Reds worked out this elaborate deferred contract and they treated like none of the money was deferred.

I think they Reds will come in the $75 million range in '08. Milton's $9 million comes of the books. They'll have a little money to play with, but not a lot.

 
at 5:30 PM Blogger tom dunne said...

Some Anonymous guy wrote:

"I am not a Griffey basher"

And one paragraph later, he wrote:

"Griffey is a CANCER."

Yeah, you're a Griffey basher. Nothing wrong with having an opinion, but at least have the sack to own it.

That said, Griffey isn't a problem, his salary isn't a problem, and the team's production with men on base isn't a problem. Offensively, the only metric that matters is runs scored, and this team is sixth in runs scored. That's more than enough to get into the post-season; the Cubs, Padres and D'Backs all have scored fewer runs than the Reds.

This really should be so obvious no one needs to say it, but this team's shortcomings are almost entirely related to the pitching. Worst ERA in the league, and no one gets into October with the worst pitching the league. That list of teams I mentioned up there, the Cubs, Padres and Diamondbacks? They are the top three pitching teams in the NL, and all are looking to make the postseason despite not hitting as well as the Reds.

This isn't a coincidence. The pitching remains the problem, just like in 2005, 2004, 2003... (the '06 Reds did alright on the mound and were almost a .500 ballclub, *despite* Dunn and Griffey :p)

 
at 7:25 PM Anonymous Gary214 said...

Anon 4:04, Thanks so much for the update...I had no idea Austin was playing for the Nats when I caught a couple of games in DC earlier in the year...must've slept right thru that part! (JEEEEZ!!)

I agree with John, and I posted as much earlier in the week on another topic...the Green Monster of Jealousy is why most dislike the guy. I'll leave it at this...I like JR and I admire him for what he has accomplished in his career. I think if we can have him and Dunn in the outfield next year for the amount of $$$ they make...then I think that is a deal compared to what some of their under-producing peers are making! If those of you wish to find something to bitch about for the sake of bitching...I guess Griffey is as good a topic as any...

 
at 10:41 PM Anonymous DD said...

Don't mind legit critcism of Griffey or anyone but its more credible when the facts are accurate. I volunteered at both Griffeys and Marty Brennamans charity events and they both raised a lot of money for good charities. But honestly, a LOT of the current REDS were at Juniors, with a lot of them interacting with Jr. including Brandon Phillips.

 
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