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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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Friday, February 22, 2008

Workout observations

"We've got some good arms."

You hear that a lot around the Ed Smith Stadium complex. I watched Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Josh Roenicke throw live batting practice and didn't see one solidly hit ball.

Roenicke has the best arm in camp. Volquez is a notch behind. One scout told that Cueto has a chance to be best of them all. "He's got a great arm and he throws strikes."

It's going to be interesting when they try to put this club together at the end. As noted in the previous post, everyone in the mix for pitching staff has options.

Other observations:

--Another guy who looks good is left-hander Scott Sauerbeck. "His ball is really moving," Brandon Phillips said.

--Todd Coffey had a particularly rough live BP session. Norris Hopper took him out to opposite field. Adam Dunn hit balls out on back-to-back swing. And Ken Griffey Jr. hit one over the batter's eye in center. Ouch.

--Griffey is swinging the bat well. He took Aaron Harang deep as well.

--This isn't an observation because I didn't see him, but people tell me Kent Mercker threw the ball well.


at 1:18 PM Blogger jdeezman said...

John... does Craig Tatum have any realistic shot at sticking with the team heading north?
Catcher is a huge weak spot as far as I'm concerned, and he is decent behind the plate and can at least hit his body weight...


at 1:18 PM Blogger dmiller9500 said...

"Norris Hopper took him out to opposite field."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this automatic grounds for a release?

at 1:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Live Batting Practice" - how is this different from what Coffey does during the regular season?

at 1:33 PM Blogger cincikid said...

Have you seen or heard how Jon Adkins is pitching?

at 1:39 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I don't think Tatum has a chance to make it. But he's very good defensively, but he hit .231 at AA last year.

I haven't seen Adkins pitch.

at 1:43 PM Blogger jdeezman said...

I know he hit .231 at AA, but he had a little pop in his swing.
Hows Hanigan looking?

Does Ross look to have at least a decent swing?

I'm really worried about catcher. You have to be strong up the middle, and it all starts with the catcher.

at 1:43 PM Blogger steve said...

How does this camp compare to the others that you have covered over the years? I know dusty is a hitting guy has he worked with the hitters much?

at 1:52 PM Anonymous redfuture said...

No surprises there John! Coffey should not be able to make an injury-free roster this time. Too many power arms whose ball actually has movement. I also am curious about Tatum & Hannigan. Is Ryan's defensive skill on par with Ross & Tatum? I know that Ryan has a much lower propensity for strinking out.

at 1:53 PM Blogger John Fay said...

It's very, very early in camp to draw any conclusions about players.

I'll say this camp has a more crispness than past years -- particularly today. Dusty must have addressed those things he was concerned about.

at 2:02 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

John, can you compare the Dusty camp to that of Narron?

Remember, when he took over for Miley and had his first full camp, he made a lot of changes in camp structure, organization and drills.

Any comparisons? How do the camps differ from those two managers?

Bloggers should also check out this piece from Fraley in The Sporting News. Good stuff:


at 2:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

on Coffey, Its only batting practice. Hitter know what type of pitch is going to be pitch and location. This only shows that people who are watching do not understand what is going on.

at 2:22 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I'll probably do something on Camp Dusty next week. I think in general Narron and Baker run similar, time-efficient camps.

The one thing I've seen is Baker interact with players more -- particularly in the clubhouse.

The hitters do know what's coming in live BP. But no one hit a ball hard off Volquez, Cueto and Roenicke. They weren't facing Griffey and Dunn, however.

at 2:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John,what about Homer Bailey, how does he look?

at 2:34 PM Anonymous NVreds said...

yes, bailey......and how's affeldts change-up?

at 2:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

yahoo.com sports is saying when Jay Bruce's name comes up around Dusty, he almost automatically changes up and starts talking about Norris Hopper. And the guys from Baseball Prospects said on HOMER yesterday that playing for Dusty is tantamount to career suicide for young pitchers...is his propensity for veterans starting to overtake camp yet?

at 2:58 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Great, thanks. Look forward to Camp Krusty, I mean Camp Dusty.

at 2:59 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

btw: Dusty roaming the clubhouse is how he's made his chops.

at 3:01 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

L'Ville Bats tickets will be a hot item this summer:

Jay Bruce
Homer Bailey
Johnny Cueto
Joey Votto
Josh Roenicke
Matt Maloney

It's no "Hopper and Fogg," but it might be fun to watch.

at 3:02 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

I forgot Voltron.

at 3:02 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Yeah, Baseball prospectus is another of those nimrods who should do their homework about Baker and young players. Just repeating false history.

Look up each Giants and Cubs team Baker managed, look at the pitchers, look at their ages, look at their starts and/or appearances, look at their "quality of ability," meaning who had talent and who didn't, and show us a pitcher with lasting talent who got screwed by Baker's penchants.

at 3:04 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

dusty probably doesn't want to verbally hand the job over to bruce like the media has. he knows hopper is 27 something and worked hard to be an everyday player in the bigs, so i think it's fair he mention his name a couple times.

at 3:05 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Voltron is an awesome nickname for Volquez. Can see the video board now when he strolls in from the bullpen.

at 3:06 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

bailey, volquez and votto WILL make the roster. no way around it.

at 3:11 PM Anonymous Jack in Blue Ash said...

2:57 anon I heard the same thing about Dusty and young pitchers..but maybe we should give him a chance

perhaps he learned some valuable lessons when he got fired from the Cubs

at 3:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about Majewski? Is he on the Coffey plan of suckage too this year? Its a shame that we had to give away Kearns for all that, but maybe since it was early in Kriv's tenure here its helped him learn a thing or two.

at 3:11 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I haven't seen Homer throw live BP yet.

Dusty mentions Hopper first in CF talk. But in that same piece, Dusty scoffs at easing in notion about Bruce.

at 3:22 PM Blogger Al in Ohio said...

John, have you talked to Jeremy Affeldt at all since the Fogg signing? I'm curious as to whether he thinks, with the kids also in the mix, that adding a veteran starter decreases his chances of making the rotation.

at 4:35 PM Anonymous Jack in Blue Ash said...

John Andy Furman down there this spring?

at 4:55 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Furman is not down here or at least I have not seen him.

at 5:22 PM Blogger Fkdrad said...

Dusty's camp: One big change is having all players come together on one field for instruction on key game situations. Today Chris Spiers took them through pick off plays at each base. They then break off into several groups to continue the day. Also, Dusty has been stationed in the center tower where he can easily see all the action. He has been by himself, taking lots of notes. Dusty is also the most fan friendly manager I have seen in the ten yrs the Reds have been here. He is very approachable to talk to and signs autographs endlessly!!

at 5:55 PM Blogger Kyle said...

I was curious how the original 25 man projection was affected by the Josh Fogg signing and Bill Bray injury.

at 6:38 PM Anonymous PresidentJohnAllenJr. said...

How about trading Coffey and Freel for Barrett? Trading salaries for salary!!! Add Bako if the Padres need another catcher. I rather have Ross, Barrett and Valentin than Bako, if the Reds decide to keep three catchers. One note, if they do keep three catchers, Hatteburg is a gone for good.

at 6:50 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I'll be lucky to go 20 for 25 on my roster projections. Bray will prpbably be healthy. But Volquez,Roenicke, Mercker, Sauerbeck and a lot of other guys I didnt have on are looking good. It's early but the Reds may face some yough decisions.

at 7:04 PM Anonymous PresidentJohnAllenJr. said...

John, you are right about the tough cuts. I don't want to be Baker shoes next month. Maybe some trades will decide the roster for opening day.
Mr. Redsleg, Mercker isn't done!!!! as you said in one of my comments. Still, he is a lefty with a lot of wisdom.
Mr. Redsleg, I didn't know that you're a retired salesman from Washington DC. HAHAHAHAHA

at 7:13 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

We do not want Barrett as a catcher for the Reds. We need a defensive upgrade who can call a game, not someone who can stop any pitch when it hits the backstop.

Barrett can hit, but I'll take Javy over him. I would also rather have Jason LaRue over Barrett

at 7:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd be lucky to get a bag of fresh roasted peanuts for Todd Coffey right now.
But, I'd do that deal.

at 7:23 PM Anonymous MJ said...

Coffee and BP before and during the season are one in the same. If our arms are as good as advertised then I don't see how in the 5 Robots of Voltron he is still a Red after Springball. I'd keep Burton, Bray, and even Majewski long before I'd keep Coffee.

John I wonder if the Reds aren't happy with how the pitching looks about the halfway point of springball if they revisit the Blanton trade talks and rethink they're stance on giving up one of the projects? Thoughts?

at 7:29 PM Anonymous MJ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

at 7:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

at 7:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything i hear about Bruce is about his hitting, but what about his defense? Does he have enough speed to cover centerfield? Dunn's not the best fielder and JR isn't as fast as he once was, so does he have enough to cover and run down the balls Griffey and Dunn can't get to?

at 7:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two suggestions for the Castellini family for 2008:

Get a riverboat horn, and everytime Josh strikes out a batter, sound the "Fogg horn."

Then, give Dunkin Donuts a concession at GABP, and everything A-Gone steals a base, one free donut for every fan!

Come on, how much can 40,000 donuts a year set you back?

at 7:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doh! Every TIME A-Gone steals a base: free donuts for everyone at GABP!

at 7:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay Bruce has plenty of speed, can play centerfield, and will out hit and outfield Hopper and Freel with ease.

at 8:08 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

I would agree with anon 7:54. Talent wins out as we saw with Hamilton and Freel last year, as long as you have the drive to go with it. Sounds like Bruce has OVERdrive.

to Homer Anon 7:53 Simpson, the turtle you raced against AGon must have been a Terrepin like Teixeira.

By the way Homer Anon, how many world series rings you got?

Read my turtle shaped beak:
AGon is the starting shortstop for the 08-09 Reds, and he will thrive

at 8:52 PM Blogger sidsux said...

Please, NOT another year with Coffey.
He makes Danny Graves look good.

at 8:53 PM Blogger sidsux said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

at 8:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't Dunn have somewhere around 10-12 stolen bases last year?

at 9:02 PM Anonymous Red Faced said...

If Coffee (Decaf) is still giving up dingers half-way through the spring then I say we trade him for about half a dozen baseballs. Add those 6 to the dozen or so he's likely to give up if we were to keep him and I'd say we come out ahead.

Concerning everyone wanting Bruce to start in center field. Who leads off for the Reds if neither Freel nor Hopper are in the lineup? I'm not saying that Bruce shouldn't start just wondering who you think would leadoff. Keppinger won't be starting over AGon or EE or Votto so who leads off? I hate to say it but I think this team is better top to bottom when Jr isn't starting and Hopper is filling in for him? Or perhaps Bruce moves to Right and Hopper plays center...or perhaps that's why Dusty wants Lofton? Still that would mean Jr has to be traded then and the team eats some of the contract.

at 9:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey here's an idea: Send Griffey, and Volquez to the A's for Blanton.

at 9:23 PM Anonymous wanderinredsfan said...

Please stop the Griffey trade tirade. He can block any trade. He will be here until his contract expires, at a minimum.

at 9:55 PM Blogger cincikid said...

If all of these arms continue to impress through spring do you foresee using one or two impressive arms as possible trading chips to maybe go after other weaknesses, like right handed bat? With the influence of Jocketty, Baker it's hard to imagine them standing pat without Baker's "leadoff guy" and maybe a righthanded bat before the season starts. Especially now that C. Wilson's affordable comeback has fell through so quickly.

at 10:39 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Sound good so far,Last season in the 1st week of the season they were the best N.L bullpen with a awesome ERA,Look where they ended by the end of the season.

Meaning, I don't put much stock into earlier ST BP warm ups.

Let's go Big Red Machine 08'

at 10:43 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Dunn had 9 last year versus 2. best year was 19

at 11:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any observations on Andy Phillips. He's a hometown boy here and we'ld like some perspective on his chances. Thanks

at 1:01 AM Blogger Dave from Louisville said...

I am hoping Stanriods and Coffey do not make the 25 man. I'd rather have Roenicke and the Rule 5guy.

at 6:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumor out of the Cleveland camp has Cliff Lee going to the Reds for Todd Coffey and Gary Majewski!
If true I'd make that trade in a New York minute! The idea is that a new team and a fresh start might help everyone involved.

at 8:12 AM Anonymous Jack in Blue Ash said...

John..what is the scoop on Keppinger. Many of us were impressed with him and feel he is much more than a utility player..he certainly outplayed Gonzalez and the team played much better when he was in the lineup.. Do they keep Ryan Freel?

Are they gonna give him a chance to compete for a starting job?

at 8:32 AM Blogger redfuture said...

John, I really enjoy the enquirer's spring training photos also. Looks like Cueto is a Dominican Dandy as photo 25 of 27 shows his white shoes. True to form, I think it was photo 9 of 27, shows Sauerbeck with his tongue sticking out during a pitching session. Great photos!

at 8:38 AM Blogger John Fay said...

I think Keppinger will get some at-bats at first base. I'd be shocked if Gonzalez isn't the starting shortstop.

His offensive numbers were decent -- .272, 16 homers, 55 RBI in 393 at-bats -- and the Reds were much better defensive team with him in there.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Freel. Dusty said today he looks good. He'll make the team -- the Reds owe him a lot of money and he's out options -- but they could try to trade him if Hopper wins the center field job.

at 8:51 AM Blogger docproc said...


Have you heard any conversation about Arizona/Sarasota? (I understand that the Reds are "legally" not supposed to be considering Sarasota right now, but I was wondering if there has been any unofficial hallway talk).

at 8:54 AM Anonymous Jack in Blue Ash said...

john..thank you.. I keep hearing that the Reds were much better defensively with Gonzalez playing..yet their record indicates they were pretty bad overall..so what does it matter..are not wins more important?

with keppinger playing and getting some timely hitting,,the team played much better as the record indicates

Gonzalez certainly is an "artist" and can be brilliant ..but on a day to day basis Keppinger made all the plays necessary..and rather easily

When you say better defensively I find myself at a loss. If I am correct ..all things being equal and when you trend keppingers numbers out, I see even less errors on his part.

I mean the guy was batting what 80 points higher than gonzalez? Why do they not give the guy the chance to see if he can keep the pace up? Money?

at 9:05 AM Blogger John Fay said...

The Arizona thing is moving along. They have to get the financing in place, but they're confident they will.

I'm not taking side in the Keppinger-Gonzalez debate. I'm just telling you what I think will happen.

at 9:16 AM Blogger Dan H said...

With regards to Keppinger-Gonzalez, Gonzalez definetly covers more ground and I believe has a better arm than Keppinger. More range better for the defense overall. Keppinger may hit for a higher average than Gonzalez and I like him better as a so-called super infield/ sub and platoon right handed bat at 1B. Also with Gonzalez's son hopefully doing much better health wise,I feel Gonzalez's play will also improve. This team is shaping up, legit competition for the starting and relief spots. As I mentioned before ,patience is the keyword as Krivsky/Baker put the team together. Coffey's performance yesterday, shades of Milton getting lit up in the minor league game last year.

at 9:27 AM Blogger redfuture said...

Not that I want Lohse back, but when is he going to sign with anyone? His terms must be dropping like a rock in a pond. He'll have take on the nickname 'Catfish' because some team will have to be bottom fishing to sign him now!

at 9:28 AM Anonymous Jack in Blue Ash said...

dan..Gonzalez hit for average and his play was fine..there was no drop off in play because of his sons illness

The team turned all the plays when Keppinger was in there and played much better , I saw absolutely no dropoff defensively..

As a matter of fact again, when you trend everything out Keppinger was making far fewer errors

I think too many people have listened to past scouting reports that would suggest that Keppinger is only a backup or utilty guy

A backup..like Tony Romo of the Cowboys I guess

In total..I think Keppinger is a far better ballplayer

laters gang have a nice day

at 9:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gonzalez made a ton of errors last year...range is somewhat subjective -- I think that offset any alleged additional range.

The Reds had a better winning record without Gonzo in the lineup than when compared to Kepp. Also, the team ERA was lower with Kepp. That sounds to me like the Kepp played just fine, but Gonzo -- like Freel -- is paid quite a bit & thus for that reason may start most games initially.

at 9:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John, as of right now, and I know it's early, but who do you think has the edge at winning the center field job?

at 9:45 AM Blogger John Fay said...

Hopper, Freel, Bruce. But they haven't played a game. I still think Bruce will win the job.

at 9:58 AM Blogger MarkinMusicity said...

"Get a riverboat horn, and everytime Josh strikes out a batter, sound the "Fogg horn.".. A grand thought! I second it!
Secondly, remember Gonzo played most of last year with a very ill son... that is a MAJOR distraction!
I like the Reds young arms... the problem with trades of men with great potential and in need of refinement ( Coffey, Coutlangus )
you make the trade and discover you let go a Dennis Eckersley...
As always, I like the Reds prospects this year.. and I get to see the SECOND and THIRD games in Sarasota next week!

at 10:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 11:20 AM Blogger Kyle said...

I dont think ive heard any mention of Chris Dickerson so far. I remember Krivsky bringing up his name in the centerfield competition. I realize he is considered a long shot at best, but is he going to get a decent look in spring training? Has he made an impression yet?

at 3:29 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

can't hit.

at 7:37 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Gonzo is far better with regard to double plays Jack. You don't need to look it up, we've been thru this with you and your posse several times.

Gonzo also produces RUNS at the same rate as Kepp even with a lower average.
Gets more outs and scores runs.

Kepp will be a great 1b and utility man. I love the guy, but Gonzo has a World Series Ring as a SS while you are talking about achievement

We love Ryan Freel also but he will not be our starting shortstop

at 9:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Fkdrad,

Thanks for the firsthand accounts from the Reds' camp! Lots of us can't get to Florida and there's a lot of things we'd like to know about the team.

Are you going to report from scrimmages and games? Travelling with them throughout the Grapefruit League?

Keep up the great reports and if you don't mind, send me an email at: bottledwater6@gmail.com

at 10:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only Jack in Blue Ash could equate someone's fielding into a teams wins and loses. It takes nine to win and nine to lose. And to say his son's health didn't effect his hitting is pretty remarkable. If you haven't walked in mile in his shoes, how do you know? And don"t use you lame excuse that you to 30 games. Just because your in the park doesn't mean you understand what"s going on.

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