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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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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Better off than a year ago?

For argument sake, let's say the Reds don't get Joe Blanton or any other veteran starter.

That would mean they'd go into the spring with the following in the mix for the rotation:

Aaron Harang
Bronson Arroyo
Matt Belisle
Homer Bailey
Jeremy Affeldt
Edinson Volquez
Johnny Cueto
Matt Maloney

Last year's lineup going into the spring was:

Kyle Lohse
Eric Milton
Kurt Saarloos
Bobby Livingston
Elizardo Ramirez
Paul Wilson

Which do you like better? This year's group has more potential and better than stuff but much less experience.


at 1:18 PM Blogger BATSFAN said...

Hey, why is Livinston in the hunt for a spot he did well last year?

at 1:19 PM Anonymous Jack in Blue Ash said...

It looks better..but the bottom line on team sports is chemistry

at 1:32 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Looks like another battle with Pittsburgh unless most of the question marks turn to pluses. Should win a few more than last year, just for the fact the Narron is gone and they have a closer.
Catching still sucks, SS is below average, Griffey is even older and probably even slower. Arroyo, Harang and bang, bang, bang won't get you far.

But I will withhold my final judgment until the end of ST when I am certain that what I say will be correct.

at 1:32 PM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

I think last year was definitely better on paper...I know I had high hopes for Belisle, Saarlose, Lohse, and Uncle Milty...but we all know how that turned out.

Good lord that group for this year looks awfully thin.

at 1:35 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Almost forgot: They are much bettor off at least looking at the young pitchers this year than going with the proven losers like Saarloos, Lohse, Milton, etc.

at 1:37 PM Anonymous Z in Oxford said...

experience doesnt mean much if you've had experience leading the league in HRs allowed (Milton), not getting an out for five consecutive appearances (Sarlose), or having so many arm surgeries you're qualified to perform them yourself (Wilson)

ill take my chances on youth and potential..

at 1:41 PM Blogger Will T. said...

This years group is better in my opinion. However, I like Saarloos. He is a good pitcher who had a bad year last year. I still wish that the Reds would trade for Cliff Lee. They could probably get him for less than Blanton and he would be a whole lot better. Maybe I am just biased since I am from Arkansas. Anyways, the Reds have a chance this year. Injuries can happen to any of the contending teams. Lets just see if the Reds take the chance and run with it.

at 1:56 PM Anonymous snake said...

The problem is starting pitching was not addressed last year either. Now they are in a position to give the young guns a shot or give up some very good young talent for a veteran. My personal opinion is if they were going to give up the young talent it should have been for Bedard. At this stage, I say let it ride and if they need in-season help then make the trades. If these guys pan out, you have paved the way for a solid future. In the meantime, if you want to sign people and invite them to camp I suggesst looking at Kris Benson, or a pitcher rather than keep signing OFs. You're not doing the confidence level any good of Bruce, Freel and Hopper by signing Wilson, Hopper and who knows who else. Just one off-season I'd like for the Reds to act lik ethey know what they're doing. If you want to really win, act like it.

at 1:59 PM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

Didn't Livingston shred his arm last year? I don't think he's available till maybe late this season at best.

Did leave out Shearn. Although if they're relying on him for anything more than a spot start here and there, 12-6 curveball instruction, or goatee grooming tips they're in trouble.

at 2:03 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

I think it looks brighter this season,Young arms,a solid Manager, & a owner that's showing he cares about winning by bringing in Bonafined names like Jocketty.

at 2:08 PM Anonymous Monroe said...

These guys look especially good for '09. Hopefully, the Reds will have some patience and recognize the future is theirs if they just take a deep breath and let these guys mature .. instead of, say, flipping Cueto or Bailey for a league average guy - at best - like Blanton.

at 2:12 PM Blogger Chris said...

I think this years is potentially better because it doesn't include as many players that Krivsky just intends to use as competition. Saarloos and Santos were statistically bad before they came here and Krivsky was banking on many of these players to have a freak season statistically based on competition.

This year, we have a lot of top prospects who are competing for a spot - Bailey, Cueto, Maloney, Volquez. While all of them won't make the rotation immediately, eventually they'll all find their way into the rotation. I think we'll have a stronger finish as these younger guys get a grasp on the majors. At least it'll be more interesting that seasons past. Instead of having one prospect to watch, we'll have several. The likelihood that one of these guys will pan out will give us a pretty solid rotation in the future.

Livingston would probably be a lock for the rotation if he wasn't rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He isn't expected to pitch again until midway through this season.

at 2:29 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

i wouldn't trade for a starter until i see what i have in spring. spring numbers aren't accurate, but good talent evaluators can usually see who's gonna be fine and who's gonna struggle come may. i see one of volquez/bailey/cueto dissapointing, one exceeding expectations and one being just solid. thats not bad.

no blanton if beane demands a bailey or a cueto. cliff lee maybe?

at 2:34 PM Blogger NC Reds Fan said...

First off, Bobby Livingston would probably be a lock for the starting rotation, but he had surgery at the end of last season on his arm (not sure if it was tommy john or not) and he wont be ready untill at least mid season. Secondly, I feel that this years rotation is much better then lasts. This orginization needs to understands that we finaly have the young talent to win. Let the kids play and we will be very good. If they make a trade for Blanton, great, but I wouldn't give up much. Yeah he had 230 innings but he had a 5.11 era away from oakland and only 140 K's. Thats a lot of work for a shakey defense. The best type of pithcher for the reds is a strikeout pitcher, and guess what, we have 4 young ones (Homer, Cueto, Malloney, Volquez). I don't give them up for anything. I think that a rotation of Harang, Arroyo, Bailey, Belisle, Volquez. I put Belisle at 4 only because I haven't seen Volquez pitch. By mid season I expect to see Cueto in the rotation. We will be much better off than last year. Thirdly, why would you waste money on Lofton, he is just a ten year older, more expensive, Norris Hopper. Why don't they just let the new "Kid" (Bruce) play. Thats all I have to say about that.

at 2:34 PM Blogger John Fay said...

To clarify: Livingston had shoulder surgery, which is generally harder to come back from than tommy john on sept.9. I don't see him pitching in games until late in the year.

at 2:40 PM Blogger NC Reds Fan said...

Well turns out chris beat me to the point on about everything

at 2:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

have some faith, this blanton deal will happen. WK/Beane have already made several deals in the past, ts just finding the right combo of players. i'm sure more could be added to the deal if A's include 1b Dan Johnson or relievers like Embree/Casilla. i expect it to be done by thursday. but whether it includes both Cueto or Bailey/Votto, who knows

at 2:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

this 08 group might have more upside, but just as many question marks. reds are looking at 75 wins either way, too much uncertainty. thats why blanton is being talked, gives stability and more of a sure thing. of course price is the question, but reds fans are foolish if they dont think blanton is an upgrade at all. its not a rental either, he's signed for 3 seasons. Harang/Arroyo/Blanton pitching all in their prime makes the reds a better team. WK knows this because his job is on the line in the next yr or two and cant afford another 70 win team. for sure, baker didnt go there for that.

at 3:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you have to love the potential of the younger guys, unfortunately, potential doesn't win games.

at 3:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

a trade for Blanton still looks like the best alternative

if WK is still lookign for a veteran SP, the options are getting lesser

Livan Twins
Trachsel Orioles
Armas Mets

here's the remaining

Remaining FA starters (Apologies for not bolding the names) : Kris Benson, Shawn Chacon, Bartolo Colon, Josh Fogg, Freddy Garcia, Byung-Hyun Kim, Kyle Lohse, Rodrigo Lopez, Eric Milton, Tomo Ohka, Russ Ortiz, Odalis Perez, John Thomson, Jeff Weaver, David Wells.

at 3:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, why are we so in love with Blanton. We have successfully seen he is less than average out of Oakland's home stadium.

Oakland pitchers just aren't that good. Remember the Cardinals gave up Dan Haren, who was just an average pitcher and he looks great in Oakland. St. Louis gets Mulder in return, who was great in Oakland and he is less than average in St. Louis, Hmmmmm

Barry Zito, wonderful in Oakland, dreadful in San Francisco

Hudson, wonderful in Oakland, just average in Atlanta (haven't seen him on many NL All-Star teams)

Mike Moore, awesome with Oakland, journeyman for all the other teams he pitched for, Ditto Dave Stewart, wasn't much before Oakland and wasn't much after Oakland.

If Bailey or Cuerto end up in Oakland, they will All-Stars and Blanton will remind up of Sarrloos, Eric Milton or Jimmy Haynes, take your pick.

If Wayne is that concerned, I would rather see him take another run on Lohse. Since Livan signed for $6million with the Twins earlier today, I'm sure Lohse has become more affordable for the Reds. If the season tanks, trade him off again for more prospects at the end of July. Randy Bounds, Chatham, Illinois

at 3:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds actually have young talent that's near the big leagues!!! I will definately pick this years team.

at 3:31 PM Blogger Scottyb said...

Give me the youth and build for the future.

at 3:36 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

though i think fans are wildly overreacting to the leadoff thing, lofton is a good player who gives us flex in the outfield and the ability to move freel. a lofton, vet starter and a decent showing from cueto or volquez out the pen may make this team a contender. nobody's denying all the ifs, but all teams have ifs, especially in our division.

its like this...if affeldt fails in the spring, or bailey fails in the rotation, you have volquez. if he fails, you have cueto. if he fails you have maloney...one of them will work out well and one will put up typical back end of the rotation numbers, and now you have...

whoever works out well
whoever puts up #5 numbers

most back ends are suspect, so we won't be alone

if belisle and bailey/volquez/cueto/maloney can't match suppan (back end numbers) and bush/capuano or marquis and lieber, i guess we are screwed, this year and beyond.

at 3:45 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

harang and burton came from oakland, 2 of our 3 best pitchers last year, stormy the other.

at 3:50 PM Anonymous indygarner said...

This years team is far more exciting. I would start with Bailey, Cuerto, and Volquez behind Harang and Arroyo. Matt Belisle hasn't done anything to earn a spot in the rotation, why not give the future of the team a chance to gain experience. The Reds probably wont win the division with the youngsters pitching, but they wont with Joe Blanton in the rotation either. A couple years ago, the Tigers put all their youngsters in the rotation (Bonderman, Robertson, and Verlander) and they had a terrible season but that experience was essential in building the team they have now (88 wins in the toughtest division last year).

For the first time in years, I am excited about the Reds. Bailey, Cuerto, Volquez, Maloney, Votto, and Bruce are the future, and the future is now. Give the youth a chance, don't trade any of them for average players.

at 3:52 PM Blogger docproc said...

Fun question, John.

I am much more excited about this year's crop. The great fun in Spring Training last year was watching youngsters like Hamilton, Burton, and Livingston emerge. I'm so glad Milton and Saarloos are gone and Volquez and Cueto are on the horizon.

at 3:55 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Great points Anon 3:20.Oakland is set up for pitchers to do very well.Bob Welsh won 27 games there in the 1990 season.When was the last time someone came even that close to that many Wins in a season.That was before steriods too.(Maybe, They did have the Roid's bros. on that team)

Then when they came to Riverfront in 1990 for the WS,we all know how that turned out!!!!(Riverfront was a pitchers park in my eyes too) I still don;t who thought GABP should be so hitter friendly, with all the humidity in Cincinnati that was just dumb.

at 3:57 PM Blogger russ said...

Last year's talent was much better simply because Loshe, sadly, was a better #3 starter than anybody they have right now.

Also, you guys who are holding onto hope with Maloney and Livingston need to understand that left-handed slowballers that have even a moderate level of sustained success (ie - Jamie Moyer) come along maybe twice a decade. Just ask Dave Williams, Brandon Claussen, etc. I'm beginning to think that I was watching Livingston in an alternate reality last year. I was not overly impressed or even remotely convinced that he belongs on a major league rotation.

at 4:07 PM Anonymous tadd said...

I think most of you talk out of your ass most days.I have never seen a bunch of crabby people in my life.WK makes moves to keep us competitive.He is not going to hit a HR with every move.I would dare any of you experts to name a GM who has been perfect.And folks,Krivsky is not going anywhere.So could we please stop with the Fire Krivsky quotes.It's getting real old.

Krivsky is who he is. Didn't any of you research him when he was with the Twins.It's not like he has totally changed.He is never going to be a Theo Epstein,or a Brian Cashman.I think that in the very near future, they will be just fine.Dont forget the albatross he was given when he took over control.

at 4:17 PM Anonymous rickNmd said...

I agree about Lohse. Why give up the young players when perhaps Lohse can he had for perhaps a one year deal to rebuild his market and give the young pitchers the time they need to develop for 2009?

The problem is, who saw Livan getting $6 mil? From the Twins no less?

That probably means Lohse would want $8 mil or so for a year.

Just seems why give away the future when perhaps someone you already know and has his moments might be available more reasonably in a down market.

at 4:30 PM Anonymous Jack in Blue Ash said...

John would you please kick Tadd off the blogs he is attacking bloggers

at 4:33 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...


Did you ever watch Livingston Pitch?I thought he did pretty well.I caught his game at Coors field last June.(the only game they won on that series)He did really well in that game or How about the atlanta series in ATL, when he was like 4-4 a the plate & was pitching a shut out late into the game,he was lights out in ST last season, & he did well till the injury.

Livingston is underrated,I can't wait till he's healthy again.I talked with his family & him after the game at Coors field,Good people,positive attiude!!!! This guy has the right stuff,let's just hope he can recover properly & come back and be effective.

at 4:35 PM Anonymous redfuture said...

Daugherty says he's going to keep hammering for Blanton in exchange for Bailey or Cueto along with Votto and another minor leaguer, while Hal McCoy's column today says not to give up any of our top prospects. Who's right?

at 4:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe we're crabby because the Reds suck? maybe we're crabby because WK keeps signing dinosaur outfielders? maybe we're crabby because this lousy franchise hasn't made the World Series since 1990? maybe affeldt and mercker are the answers to the question what new Reds pitchers in 2008 didn't make the team out of spring training?

maybe Blanton isn't the best pitcher available but WE NEED BETTER STARTING PITCHING JUST TO GET BACK TO .500

Our current rotation is:

Big Stench
Enormous Stench
Unimaginably huge Stench

That's reason enough to be crabby! Remember all the BS optimism last season, and in 06, and 05, and 04? Haven't you had enough of stupid naive optimism. This team sucks.

Until proven differently!

at 4:50 PM Blogger 24/7 said...


hal is right. doc isn't wrong per se in pushing the club to add another starter by exciting the fanbase but the price is not right. the YANKEES won't even give up their kids for blanton. why should the reds? they think they have a couple aces on the way and so should we until proven otherwise.

at 4:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year looks much better for SP. Teams must have 6-7 major league ready starters to compete these days because of injuries.

We only had 3 major league ready starters last year could be reasonably expected to post sub 5.50 ERA's. After that, it was Milton, Sarloos, and Belisle (an average 3rd yr. middle reliever who performed surprisingly well). After that, it was Bailey, who had only pitched 13 games above A ball.

I really liked Lohse, but I also really like Affeldt. He was a decent SP for KC in '03 before they moved him to be a closer (3.93 ERA in 18 starts). I think that Affeldt and Belisle (with a year's improvement) will do almost as well as Lohse did. Bailey and Volquez are both major league ready with much, much higher upsides than Milton and Sarloos. That gives us 6 pitchers that are better than our # 4 guy last year.

On another note, I still have no idea why Norris Hopper is not viewed as an outstanding CF and leadoff hitter. He's hit .330-.350 at every level, rarely strikes out, and would get 30-40 SB's as an everyday player.

- Tim

at 4:57 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...


Nothing against Doc,but who's in the HOF for their reporting on the reds.Doc is a great reporter & I love it when it Rails into ownership (on all sides of sports) for their stupidity,but Hal really knows Red's baseball. The HOF board of voters think so too!!!!

at 5:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the case for a guy like Blanton.

Anyone ever hear of Aaron Harang? When the Reds traded for him, he was 6-7 with an ERA over 5 in parts of two seasons with the As. Anyone predict him as a #1 at that time?

By age 27, which is Blanton's age now, Harang was a dominant 31-32 for his career with one season with an ERA under 4 on his resume. Blanton, by contrast, is already 42-34.

Is Blanton the next Harang? Probably not. But I don't see him as any worse than Arroyo, either, whom you folks seem quite content with.

And the key to Blanton is he's club controllable through arbitration through 2010. So he's not a one-year rental. If he pans out, you've got him two full years before you have to worry if he's signable beyond 2010.

I'd hate to see the Reds give up Bruce, but then again, outfielders are a dime a dozen. As for Votto, the experts are projecting gap power with about 25 HR's a year. In other words, about 5 more homers a year than Sean Casey, who we haven't missed and haven't brought back though we've had more than one opportunity to do so since trading him away.

It's not like Votto is being projected as the next Prince Fielder, Justin Morneau or Ryan Howard.

So if the Reds can get Blanton cheap, it's worth a gamble.

at 5:06 PM Blogger Kyle said...

In all fairness, not every pitcher that leaves Oakland bombs. Aaron Harang and Jared Burton seemed to adjust alright. Maybe Blanton would do alright away from Oakland as well.

at 5:15 PM Blogger Brad said...

I honestly like 2008 Rotation better than 2007.

This staff has a ton of potential and pitchers who need to get some starts undert their belt. I want to see Bailey, Volquez, and later Cueto and Maloney if needed. If these young guys have good seasons, we could be right in the hunt for the playoffs. If not, we'll be in better shape for next year (which should an even better year).

Please don't trade away the Our Major League Ready Farm System for Joe Blanton.

at 5:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the reds should stay with the young guys. If they really want to add someone, Chacon is still available. He would be just like adding another Lohse except cheaper. Chacon had an era in the high 3's last year, that makes more sense to me than trading the youngins away or signing lohse.

at 5:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last years rotation looked bad because we already knew they were bad.
This years is a big question mark but it has great promise.
So,I like this years better.To me,adding Blanton to that list and subtracting Baily or Cueto doesnt make it any better.

at 5:28 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Lohse stinks and Krivsky will be gone if the Reds do not at least contend this season.

at 5:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

its an unfair generalization that all oakland pitchers bomb

mulder- he had injury issues in oakland, a terrible 2nd half efore getting traded. cards knew that

hudson- injury issues too and an impending FA

beane knew this and didnt want to ccommit long term, they ccouldnt afford anyways.

they traded bonderman
zito has been declining since early 2000's, his fastball coming up ocasionally hit 92mph, now it 86/88mph big difference. along with iffy control

just because the GABP is a joke doesnt turn blanton suddenly into lohse/belisle who arent that good. weaker league/division make up for it.

at 6:20 PM Anonymous PresidentJohnAllenJr. said...

Two questions:
Do you think that the Reds would have better off signing Hernandez for 5 million plus incentives or trading three prospects or more for Blanton and paying him 4 millions?
Not changing the subject but if Rocker is telling the truth about the Rangers players (A-Rod, Raffy and Pudge), why isn't the Congress asking Rocker to appear before them? The Rangers have no comment and that is stranged.
Any comments?

at 7:32 PM Anonymous schlemdog said...

Trimmed ALOT of fat.
Now the Reds are too lean.
Still, healthier when lean.

I wouldn't feel better if Blanton was on the list and Bailey was off.

I wouldn't feel better if Lohse was on the list anywhere.

A little lean though.

at 7:34 PM Anonymous kyredsfan said...

OK,I usualy just read and don't respond, but some of you guys are killing me. There is a huge difference between this year's team and the past several. The roster going into 2008 reminds me of where we were in the mid 1980's. Back then we had Larkin, Davis, O'neil, Browning and others all coming to the bigs at the same time. Those guys became the core of the last championship team we saw. Bruce, Votto, Cueto, Bailey, maybe even Dickerson have the chance to grow into the core of our next championship. I don't expect it in 2008, but I expect them to be better and 2009 could be huge. We have young, home-grown talent for the first time in years, let's let them develop and learn to win as Reds, not As.

at 7:37 PM Anonymous Give the Kids the Ball said...

Keep the kids! We have waited so long to see major league starters develop out of our own major leagers. The last homegrown ace was who, Mario Soto, Tom Browning? That was a long time ago. Krivsky/Jocketty/Castellini: Be patient. You wont win it all this year with the kids or with Blanton. Let's try to compete as best we can and let the kids grow up. If we keep them and they show any promise, they'll be ours which is good, or their trade value will be infinitely higher once they've proven they belong. Either way, short of a bonafide number one trading the kids would be a big mistake.

I hope Homer is all that he is supposed to be, but I abolutely cannot wait to see Cueto. Maloney's strikeouts to walk ratio is great, Volquez still has upside (we better hope so). Whichever of the kids doest make the rotation over the next few year can bolster the bull pen. Dont mortgage the future trying to win this year when these kids might help us win over several years, though it might not be this year.

at 7:41 PM Anonymous kyredsfan said...

I have to give one thought about Votto. By my count between Loisville and teh Rds the guy knocked in 111 runs. When was the last time the Reds had a guy knock in 111 runs? That is the major difference between he and Casey. Casey was never a run producer, Votto has already been one at a very high level. Not a fair comparison at all.

at 7:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lineup is disfuctional & the pitching staff still sucks !! Why is W.K. replaced already ?? This team is still sub 500 thats why !! WE have gotten worse...we played better when it didn't matter in 07!! Just look at the total rejects Cluless is trying to sign, this is a joke!(remember the Nats won more games than us in 07) WAKE UP CINCY FIRE KRIVSKY....ANGRY IN DAYTON

at 8:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how most reds fans just assume that the management "hasn't addressed starting pitching". You make it sound like they had a real shot at any of the top tier free agents...or any of the high-end trades. Did you ever stop to think that the management that you are so quick to hate, had offers on the table for any and all of the free agents and/or trades....and that the pitchers in question actually...GASP...decided that they didn't want to pitch in cinci? Or live in cinci, for that matter. Just because we didn't get those pitchers, does not mean that "management" i.e. Krivsky didn't have the offer out there?

at 9:00 PM Blogger Dude said...


Why did does Matt Belisle get consideration, but Tom Shearn does not? Belisle gave up almost 1 more run per 9 innings than Shearn?

at 9:01 PM Blogger David Hartman said...

Actually, I think the Votto/Casey comparison has some merit.

To say that Casey wasn't a run producer is an indication of a short memory. The guy did, after all, drive in 80+ 5 times in Cincy, hit 20+ homers 3 times, and did it with a + .300 batting average.

I'm hoping Votto will be better, but from how I see him being projected by scouts, he's much closer to Casey than Fielder. If we decide we need a Casey-like first baseman to take us to the next level, can't we find one of those relatively easily? We just haven't looked. How in the world, for example, did Dmitri Young end up in the baseball wasteland that is the Washington Nationals when the Reds were going to camp with the likes of Conine and Hatteberg?

And I tend to agree with the camp that says you can't project 2008 numbers for guys like Hopper, Keppinger, Votto, etc., based on short stints in 2007. By the time those guys were playing, there was no pressure to win and they were playing for a manager who had nothing to lose. Not to say they won't do well down the line, just to say that 2007 isn't a representative sample.

It's kinda like trying to project Ryan Freel numbers as a starter based on what he does off the bench. If anyone thinks Freel is a major-league STARTER at any defensive position, you haven't been paying attention. Great guy off the bench, but don't expect him to fetch you Scott Kazmir in a trade. And don't expect him to play 160 games, hit .300 and steal 50 bases, either. Aint gonna happen.

at 9:31 PM Blogger Chris said...

Firstly, for those who list Jared Burton as a pitcher who came from Oakland... he didn't come from Oakland. As a Rule 5 draft pick, he never made it to the Athletics roster and did not post statistics in Oakland's ballpark. If you're gauging Beane's recognition of pitching talent, it's not smart to cite a Rule 5 pickup from Oakland to illustrate your point. It's also not smart to

Secondly, it's one thing to say that outfielders are a dime a dozen, but using that argument to support trading Jay Bruce doesn't know much about Jay Bruce. I believe John posted statistics a few months ago which compared Jay Bruce's minor league statistics to KGJ's minor league stats. Outfielders may be a dime a dozen, but not Minor League Baseball Players of the Year and not prospects from the #3 ranked minor league system in professional baseball.

Stay the course with the young guys. I think the most likely weakest link this year in our pitching staff is David Weathers.

at 9:32 PM Anonymous pando said...

Jack in Blue Ash said...

"It looks better..but the bottom line on team sports is chemistry"

If you were being sarcastic, I apologize but... The question was whether the pitching staff is better or worse. How does chemistry fit into that equation? If chemistry were more important than getting outs then Krivsky should have brought the Mayor back and converted him to closer instead of signing Cordero...

at 9:39 PM Anonymous redsfawoody said...

Just on the potential alone I would go with this years crop of hurlers. Seeing the likes of Wilson,Milton and the Lizard reminded me of the days of Bowden who would bring about a thousand pitchers to camp hoping a few would stick.

It's a bit of a relief to think that now the Reds might have enough in house candidates to fill out the rotation. Is that a sign of progress with the farm system? I say yes.

I am sure there will be rough patches if the young guys are in the rotation, but lots of guys before them have survived and maybe even flourished.

at 9:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any one who has read money ball knows Beane is great at judgeing talent and knowing when to get rid of players. If Beane wants these prospects so bad, I think we should hang on to them. Back in 2000, Beane wanted Youkolis. Epstein thought this and kept him and look how that turned out.

at 10:03 PM Anonymous BigRedMachine said...

In retrospect last year looks a lot worse, but I remember being very optimistic going into the season (as I always am.) I thought Milton would finally turn it around, Lohse would have a breakout year and Belisle would get by (I've never put much faith in Belisle.) Of course Harang was going to win the Cy Young and Arroyo was going to continue to improve. So, you really can't say. It just depends on if people reach their full potential or not.

at 10:29 PM Anonymous Red Faced. said...

No contest. This year's bunch is far better than last years. First off, Harang and Arroyo will most likely be helped by the improved bullpen (especially Arroyo) who was not treated well by the bullpen.

I would expect Belisle to be improved over last year with the year experience starting under his belt (Belisle could have a breakout year guys but no-one wants to give him ANY credit).

Bailey this year vs last year has to be better because he has had some experience in the big leagues as well. I expect Bailey to look awesome at times and look down-right horrible at times this year but overall I expect Bailey to start putting it together and be a solid contributor. He needs to desperately work on his control. Way too many pitches. He can get ahead of a guy 0-2 and run the count full on him. He needs to learn to just put guys away and keep his pitch count lower.

Now it gets a little tougher. You have to say that not having Eric Milton on the team is a VAST improvement. The same can be said of Paul Wilson who wasn't going to make the team anyways and most everyone knew was finished.

Volquez has more potential than Elizardo Ramirez with similar experience. I'd have to give Volquez a slight edge on talent alone. Only time will tell if he can be more consistent than Ramirez proved to be.

Saarloos appears to be very similar to Affeldt with the exception that Affeldt should be able to contribute from the pen at the very least. Of course I thought Saarloos was going to be a nice pickup last year so we'll just make this one a push.

Let's put Maloney up against Livingston. Livingston had an excellent season, too bad about the shoulder. Maloney has some talent but I've got to give Livingston the edge because he proved himself and Maloney has not yet.

That leaves us with Cueto for this year and Lohse from last year. Lohse had some awesome games last year. He also had some very, very poor outings as well and let's face it he was a LOT more expensive than Ceuto. Ceuto has more talent though and here's where we seal the deal on the comparison. Cueto will be an absolute stud. Mark my words, this guy is the real deal. in 2 years he may be our Ace. I don't know how realistic it will be for him to start in the rotation for us but sooner or later we are going to see him and he's going to contribute like we were all hoping/wishing/expecting Bailey to contribute last year.

Like I said, this year's lineup wins out hands down. No comparison.

With all this being said though I think we should make the Blanton trade. Don't you dare give up Cueto but if we have to turn loose of Bailey then I think it's a good trade. Bailey and Votto??? Not sure about that though, maybe. I like Bailey but he really throws way too many pitches. Because of this he won't be a innings eater for us this year and he may never be one. Blanton on the other hand though threw like 230 innings last year. He's durable, he has a decent SO to BB ratio and has a LOT more experience than most of our Rotation. This is the kind of guy we could really use. Throw Blanton in there with Arroyo and Harang and you've got 3 guys who will give you 220 innings each. that makes our bullpen even better. And oh, Blanton will improve his ERA by just moving to the NL regardless of pitching in GABP.

Let's make the trade, and let's get spring training going guys!!!

Later, Red Faced.

at 10:38 PM Blogger Kyle said...

With all due respect to Chris, Jared Burton DID come from the Athletics, essentially a $25,000 for a player trade. This does illustrate my point, because Billy Beane sometimes lets pitchers go that go on to have success. Beane is human. He undervalued Burton's talent. If he knew that Burton could post a 2.40 ERA in the majors, he would have found room for him on the 40 man roster.

at 11:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

No pitchers are good when they leave oakland? You forgot Harang

at 11:25 PM Blogger David Hartman said...

If you twist my arm, you might get me to take Tim Hudson's 2005 and 2007 after he left Oakland. Zito's a bust, and Mulder has been hurt, but overall, I'd say Oakland has a pretty good track record with pitchers.

at 12:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to have Blanton in the rotation this year. I think he can awesome in the national league central and he's a savior for bullpens. He's almost guaranteed to go deep into games. The vast majority of pitching prospects turn into busts by the time they hit the majors and there's a huge chance that at least 2 of Bailey, Cueto and Volquez become irrelevant in a year or two. We're already seeing Bailey's stock take a nosedive, the Orioles obviously weren't in love with him as a centerpiece. When you get a chance to accquire a proven young starter like Blanton, you jump at it.

at 12:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont think a's undervalued burton at all, there were so many 40 man roster spots available. at the time they had mcbeth/robertson relievers in AA ahead of him. he's 26/27 yrs old, it just so happened reds had a need, A's bullpen was full then and now. burton it was great for his career than be buried in the depth chart behind street/foulke/calero/casilla/brown/ziegler/gray etc among righty relievers

at 12:56 AM Blogger Matt said...

Another overlooked thing is that the offense, despite Hamilton's departure, could be very strong, as it was for a good portion of '07. There will be guys that have struggles but the improved depth gives them a lot of options. The starters should get boosts both from the offense and the improved relief staff.

I'm in the minority, but I think the bullpen improvements are all that really needed to happen in the offseason. (I didn't really see a realistic opportunity to improve at catcher though it is a need still.) Krivsky made some good depth improvements giving them a lot better set of pitchers than last year. I expect the team to compete in the division even against teams with more obvious talent. More importantly, 2009 and beyond looks even brighter and I hope Krivsky's decisions are conservative until some assessments can be made on the young talent.

at 6:37 AM Anonymous kyredsfan said...

85 ribbies a year qualified you as a run producer in the 70s, but not in the last 20 years. Casey was a great guy, but a run producing first baseman today should knock in 100 runs a year, something he NEVER did.

at 8:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Cueto pitch in Chattanooga last season. He was very impressive. Pitches in the low 90's and has a pace similar to Tom Browning. Very good control - threw a shutout through 7 innings with 1 walk.
I would love to see the young guys get a chance instead of bringing in older pitchers that other teams have given up on.

at 8:47 AM Blogger robby said...

Better off? Pitching could be better with an anchor in the bullpen, but the team as a whole is no better than last year. If things break their way, maybe the run of losing seasons ends, but there will be no pennant fever in Cincinnati again. Still not seeing a master plan here, but that is just my take.

at 11:22 AM Anonymous Michael in Raleigh said...

I would most definitely take this year's group. I was advocating the outright release of Eric Milton when he still had 13 million left on his contract. I knew he was that bad. I like Bobby Livingston, but shoulder surgery is the worst and he didn't have that good of stuff to begin with. I'm afraid he's pitches his last game for the Reds. Sure, the back end of the rotation is iffy, but it was last year too, and I have a feeling Bailey and Belisle will improve drastically. You'll always have question marks with your number 5 starter anyway. I'm hoping that Matt Maloney pitches well in Spring Training and makes the rotation. We seriously need a lefty. He's not exactly a soft-tosser either, like someone posted earlier. He actually picked up a couple miles per hour and was throwing in the low 90's consistently at the end of last season. Plus his control is very good. Not as good as Cueto's, who seems to be further along than any of the young prospects right now, but good nonetheless. I don't think Affeldt will make the rotation, but he'll be a solid reliever. I would definitely like to see Volquez or Maloney make the roster in middle relief if they don't make the rotation. This seems to be a good way to break in young starters and not blow their arms out.

at 11:23 AM Anonymous Redsland pitching said...

John, when did we trade EZ? And who'd we get for him? I must've blanked on that transaction because it was news to me when I saw it in your recent "5 players gone" list.

I thought he had good stuff, needed better control and more experience. Victim of bad bullpen/lack of run support cost him a few W's too.

at 11:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rotation is better this year even with all the unproven guys vying for spots. Despite what some people have inexplicably written, Lohse was terrible for the Reds. He will give you one great start every 6 weeks and be awful the rest of the time. If Belisle can ever learn to pitch from the stretch then he might be solid, but I'm not counting on it. Milton was the worst ever.

I am excited to see what Bailey/Cueto/Volquez/Maloney and even Affeldt can do in the spring. At the very least we have some young guys that can bring the heat. I'd take unproven fireballers over washed up rag-arms any day of the week.

To the guy who said Weathers is the weak link on the pitching staff--did you watch the Reds at all last year? The Reds might have lost 100 games without him. At the very least Stanton and Belisle have to be considered weaker links than Tackleberry from Police Academy.

at 12:00 PM Blogger aaron harang said...

So many people complain about Oakland pitching...Aaron Harang and Jared Burton are two of our best pitchers!

And who said that Tim Hudson is bad just because he didn't make any All-Star teams? Come on.

Look at his numbers. The Reds would be begging to get Tim Hudson,and so would any team in its right mind.

Now don't try to tell me that Harang is worthless, too, just because he can't make any All-Star teams. Perhaps Tim Hudson just doesn't get any respect, a la Aaron Harang.

You should be kinder to our Oakland pitchers!

Also, I see big years for Encarnacion, Belisle (yes, Belisle -- apparently I am the only one who still has any confidence in him -- I will laugh at you when he has a winning record this year), and Jared Burton.

I don't know if we have a winning record, but we are definitely better off than we were last year.

at 12:20 PM Blogger John Fay said...

EZ left via free agency. He signed a minor league deal with Texas. I always liked the guy, but I wonder about his shoulder.

at 12:29 PM Anonymous Tom said...

Overall it does look better this year with an established closer, young pitching with potential if we don't get another starter, Jay B ready to take over for Junior, and Jocketty in the front office and an established Manager at the helm. The unknown factor is team chemistry. We'll see; let the games begin.

at 12:43 PM Anonymous Redsland pitching said...

Oh, thanks John. I wonder if Krivsky even pushed to re-sign him. John, any chance of Tom Shearn making the club? Either in the bullpen or as the number 5? I don't care who laughs, but he did pretty well last year, all things considered. He showed a lot of guts.

And to the guy a few posts above, I too, believe Belisle can be really good, if he puts it all together and gets more help from the bullpen. He started out last year something like 4-2 or 5-2 with a nice ERA, then started having games with one really bad inning or not lasting more than 4 or 5 innings.

at 12:57 PM Blogger RickNMd said...

We have C-Span and the Clemens hearings on TV here at work and it's a slugging match. But to get a great blow by blow, check out Jason Stark's blog on ESPN.com. It's great, great stuff.

Awesome live blogging.

at 1:21 PM Anonymous Reset our expections said...

Another thing on Casey, when you think of what he did now, I think you need to reevaluate what he did as a player. Remember when he played for the Reds it was right in the height of the steroids era, so his production "appeared" to be low and was undervalued because he more than likely wasn't a roid user.

Now when you look back, in my opinion, you have to think that in reality he had what would be considered average to above average production for a nonsteroids baseball player.

Remember as we go into the future, we need to resize our expecations back to the era when 100 RBIs was considered and accomplishment, back to an era when hitting 25 HRs was pretty darn good, and if you managed to string a few years together of doing both you were considered one of the most feared hitters in baseball.

I actually wonder what the average stats for HRs and RBIs were for baseball as a whole BEFORE the steroids era?

at 3:50 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Aaron Harrang, I agree with you that Belisle will have a winning record. He was 8-9 last year, and granted he needs to work on concentration, and pitching from the stretch. But with a better bullpen, he can be on a shorter leash than last year, which will help him.

I love Sean Casey, but if we traded him for Cameron, instead of Paul Konerko, we wouldn't be having this discussion today about 1B.

If outfielders and 1B actually did grow on trees, Jim Bowden would still be our manager.

We have picked up Dave Parker, Jose Guillen and Josh Hamilton off the trees in the past 20 years, and traded them all for pitching.
All those other Tree guys we really don't talk about

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