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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, March 25, 2008

Back of bubblegum card keeps you off the bubble

When Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked before Tuesday’s game how much weight he gives to a pitcher’s “most recent outing” when it comes to making the team, he turned the question on its head and talked about the hitters.
“(Looking at) ‘most recent outing’ would make you a frontrunner,” Baker said. “And I ain’t no frontrunner. I don’t look at ‘most recent outing.’ If that that was the case, half the guys wouldn’t (make) the team. If that was the case, (Edwin) Encarnacion wouldn’t even be on the team.
“I look at the baseball card; I look at what I think he might do; I know what he is doing. It’s a combination of things.”
Encarnacion is hitting .172 this spring. He was 1-for-5 Tuesday afternoon in the Reds 5-3 victory over the Phillies in Clearwater. The Reds evened their record at 14-14 in the Grapefruit League.


at 9:14 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

good game against the phillies

Cordero was shaky

Keppinger had 2 more hits..batting .390 .. wow

I was unaware that Hamilton batted .292 last year. Hes hitting .460 this spring

at 9:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are going to go with past statistics for veterans, then put your money where your mouth is and CUT PATTERSON.

I don't care if he goes 15-20 in spring training, he's going to hit .240 with an OBP of under .300 when it counts.

at 9:59 PM Blogger Branden said...

so how long do we let edwin go? if he hits .178 in the month of april do we keeping going with him because he did well in the past?

at 10:48 PM Blogger Craig said...

Does the name Willie Greene mean anything to you? Edwin seems to be on the same path Greene was on. The one that doesn't lead anywhere. I think when Gonzo gets back, we should move Keppinger over to 3rd. What are the chances of that?

at 1:03 AM Blogger Nathan said...

EE was the most reliable RBI man last year, and has a lot of pop in his bat not to mention improving defense... EE is 25, Keppinger is 28... I'll take the younger, more promising, veteran- Kepp should have no shot at 3rd.

at 1:39 AM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

I still have Dusty Baker's baseball card's.A's & Dodgers.Funny how fast the times go by.

I like to see EE catch his wave & ride it.Kepp could always slide over,if needed.That's whole another debate.EE needs to show up or he might be under some scrutiny for his job.Last season he showed up when the pressure was on,later in the season.His bat always starts slow,but gets going while others are not.He is expendable,in my opinion.There's some depth at 3rd too.(Freel,kepp, &25th roster spot utility man)

at 6:54 AM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

Something I haven't seen discussed here but have seen elsewhere...

The Reds have an absolutely brutal schedule in April and May. TIf they don't some out hot, they could very easily find themselves in the same position they were in last year @ Memorial Day.

Comparing EE to Willie Green?? Are you serious? Did you watch the second half last year or tune out in June? This kid is gonna be an all star.

at 7:51 AM Blogger Rob Dicken said...

Does the name Willie Greene mean anything to you? Edwin seems to be on the same path Greene was on.

Willie Greene? Are you serious? I don't think Willie Greene EVER batted above .250, so how could Edwin be on the same path as him? You do know that Edwin has batted .280 for the last 2 years, right?

Edwin has a slow start to every year. We've seen that in the past, so why are we even questioning it? He will come around, and when he does he will drive in runs for us when they are most needed.

This is the kind of mentality Narron had about Edwin. And we ALL know where that got Narron...the unemployment line.

Keppinger had 2 more hits..batting .390 .. wow

I was unaware that Hamilton batted .292 last year. Hes hitting .460 this spring

I like Keppinger and Hamilton as much as you, Jack, but give it a rest! The same constant conniving mentality got you banned from here to the begin with, so please don't start with it again. Capeesh?

at 8:08 AM Blogger smtides said...

All I know is I look forward to Jack's Keppinger and Hamilton updates all season. So much so that I've started a spreadsheet.

at 8:13 AM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

I partially agree Nathan..after being demoted, EE came back and looked real good.

Yet, Gonzalez is the one that is way overated. Id rather have Keppinger at ss, he adds more punch, the team plays better and hes just fine defensively

Redlegg you were telling us 2 weeks ago that keppinger did not have the range or arm that Gonzalez has...yet now you are gonna slide him over to 3rd base?

way too funny

at 9:03 AM Blogger ST fan said...

I'll join in with the EE bashers. To add to the negatives is that EE's throws to first are all over the place. He gives Hat and Vot some real stretching workouts. One thing to consider is the interplay between who plays 1st and Keppinger. That is to say, Baker needs a guy to bat 2nd behind Patterson. It can't be Freel or Hopper because CF only gets one player (dah). So Baker needs to play either Hat or Kepp. If Votto plays 1st, Kepp needs to be at SS or 3rd. Kepp can definitely hit and besides he has a nice wife who comes to all the games with their two young boys.andy Green plays third and hits well. In net, EE is expendable.

at 9:04 AM Blogger outtatown tim said...

As long as EE plays defense like he has, he will get time to work his way out of the slow start. The reason why he got sent down last year was because he was a liability both defensively and offensively. Even though he isnt hitting this spring ... yet ... he is playing great in the field -- that in itself will earn him a lot of leeway.

at 10:36 AM Blogger Chris in Venice said...

EE has already accomplished more than Willie Green.

I echo the all-star comments. Stick with him this year.

at 11:09 AM Blogger Rob Dicken said...

Okay...insinuating that Andy Green should play 3rd over Edwin is down right ludicrous! Are we even watching or paying attention to the same Reds baseball games?

And Jack...quit with the Keppinger crap! We get it...Keppinger is good, but you're obsessive with him. To the point that it's kind of grossing me out, to be honest.

at 11:16 AM Blogger ankurv5 said...

EE will be fine. But he will NOT be an All-Star as long as David Wright is in the National League. But I have faith in him.

at 11:17 AM Blogger ankurv5 said...

Any word on when cuts are coming? I thought Dusty wanted to make most of them before today?

at 11:22 AM Blogger redsfanwoody said...

If Freel can play third base,Keppinger can play third base. His range won't come into the equation as much as it does at SS. Hopefully Edwin will come out playing as he did at the end of the year and make it a moot point.

Mr. Doom & Gloom,outside of the Pirates and Giants,they do have a tough road to hoe. But do you think in all honestly that the Cards will be as tough has years past?

at 12:01 PM Blogger Brandon said...

EE is 25 yrs old and has produced the past two years. He is going to be a very good player and you guys want to get rid of him. Once again another reason why Reds/Bengals fans are the WORST fans in sports. I seriously love following the Reds/Bengals but hate 90% of the fans out there. No move is ever good and when you have good players you want to get rid of them. The Reds aren't the Yankees or Sox, they need the young guys to produce and produce he has......

at 12:40 PM Blogger Arden Dulou said...

If the Reds are 8-8 going into the second home stand, while not 13-3, I would consider it a decent start. The first big test is going on the road to Mil and having the back 3 of the rotation pitching.
The first 10 games are against teams who should contend for their respective division titles. So even a 5-5 start would be good to see from the Reds. A good start could surge the Reds through trips to Pitt and Chicago. From there... who knows.

at 1:06 PM Blogger HoosierRedsFan said...

Freel's trade bait and Keppinger is a good bat off the bench and a good fill in player until Gonzo gets healthy. EE got sent down last year because he was Narron's example for the team. Narron didn't have the guts to do anything to anybody else. There were several players last year that could have used a little bench time or AAA time. EE will be fine. Did you guys see how he hit in winter ball? Now let the season begin. Go Reds!

at 1:17 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I think you'll see heavy cuts today. Anyone on the roster today gets a month of big league pay, I believe. That's $65,000.

But we won't hear for a while because it's a night game.

at 2:03 PM Blogger Will T. said...

John, there was a rumor on sportsillustrated.com that said the Reds and Phillies could pull a Stanton for Wes Helms deal. Is there any truth to this?

at 2:16 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Please refrain from putting word's in my mouth.I never said Kepp didn't have the range.Those word's never came from me.I am a huge Kepp supporter,I want the guy to play.He dresses like a ballplayer,he hustles like a ball player, he gets the needed hit when needed, & plays solid defense.

I like him as much as you do(Without the man crush).I just don't GUSH about him like you do.While other bloggers are obviously annoyed with your Kepp comments,I could care less.Your man love for someone does not bother me,that's your business.

Different strokes for different folks,I guess.

If your going to call people out,GET IT RIGHT!!!Those words never came from me & you can look up in the archives & discover that on your own.

at 2:16 PM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

I don't expect STL or HOU to be very good this year, but I expect both, especially STL, to be better than most are giving them credit for at this point.

Of the 56 games in April/May, I count 38 against teams that have a legit shot at going to the playoffs. Pretty much everyone except SF, PIT, STL, HOU, and FL. The west coast trip and the tour of the NL East are sure to be brutal.

Good lord, I just looked at June. 4 @ Philly, 3 vs. Boston, 3 vs. LA, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ TOR, and 3 @ Cleveland.

I would be ecstatic about a .500 record at the end of June.

at 2:22 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

The hate word is a very strong negative word.Next time why don't you say something like "I can't stand 90% of reds/bengals fans".It comes off better without the negative impact.

EE,is expendable.Yea,he's young & has put up some soild numbers,but what does this team NEED, above all things.PITCHING & MORE PITCHING.

If EE can bring as solid arms,then management needs to do what needs to be done.There are options at 3rd base.That is what everybody saying.

Settle down dude,your burning bridges on these blogs telling people you hate them.That's lame & immature.

at 2:55 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

REddlegg in Colorado.

I HATE the cubs

I understand Jack's penchant for mistakenly calling out people. He is very good at that.

Kepp is a nice back up, but he cannot deliver 100 Double Play's at SS like AGon did for 2005 Champs, or like Davey C. did for the 1975 Reds.
Barry Larkin had 86 DP's in 1990.

They all had Fielding Percentage about 975, but they had range and could turn the DP. Kepp's slow delivery on Monday led to the a hurried throwing error by Phillips. That flip throw has to happen quickly.
Yes Phillips got the error but it was Kepp who didn't make the play.

at 3:07 PM Blogger Rob Dicken said...

I tend to agree with Brandon. I don't think he's lashing out at everyone, just a certain type of Reds fan. There are many Reds fans that want to trade the good players we have, then want to complain when the trade takes place. It's a double standard, contradicting, and tiresome for the type of fan that likes player longevity and likes to watch a team build into a contender.

How can a team play cohesively as a unit if there is CONSTANT movement within the organization? It works the same way as an normal person working a job...a happy employee provides quality service. But, how can an employee remain happy and provide quality service that observes constant movement (demotions, firings, new hirings, etc.)? They don't! They then worry about their own job and seek employment elsewhere. It works the same way within the clubhouse folks! Playing baseball is the job of major leaguers, and they are going to remain where they can succeed. Success involves solid upper management and let's face it...the Reds have been lacking that for a LONG LONG time!

Let's worry about winning, and not trading away the good players that we have!

at 3:08 PM Blogger HoosierRedsFan said...

Reddleg, this team needs a right handed RBI guy also. I believe EE is a right handed RBI guy. So trading him wouldn't make much sense, given Kepp hasn't played every day for a full season. Don't get me wrong, I love the way Kepp plays, but trading EE isn't the way to go. If he falls on his face then you can say "I told you so", but I'll bet you'll never get the chance to say it. I just hope everyone is ready to go when the season starts. Go Redlegs!

at 3:18 PM Blogger GookiePokeyHomer said...


Any update on the Reds catching search? Saw Saltamacchia got demoted and I heard Hamilton's best friends here were Stanton, Freel, and Belisle and they would do anything to be reunited...

at 3:19 PM Blogger Dan said...

Somewhat off-topic roster comment...

The Cubs have signed Fukodome and now Reed Johnson for their outfield.

I continue to be amazed at how much they seem to undervalue Matt Murton.

The Reds, I think, need one more righty hitter w/ some pop. They also might need a new corner outfielder (or two?) next year if Griffey and/or Dunn aren't here.

Put it all together and I think the Reds should look into dealing for Murton. The guy can hit. He could also spell Dunn and (especially) Griffey vs. LHP's.


Freel for Murton?

at 3:24 PM Blogger SparkysGhost said...

It's comforting to read that Baker is aware that these guys had track records before he moseyed into town. Hopefully he will look at Votto's and realize what Baseball Prospectus and most other informed projection systems already have: that he is better than Scott Hatteberg already.

at 3:25 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Agreed the DP looked horrible.But that is what ST is for,to work on fundamental's,etc...Practice makes perfect.

Kepp is solid ball player,that can be used in a variety positions.Making Freel & his heavy salary expendable.Kepp is the next best choice for SS until Gonzo come's back,so I like to support him as much as I can.

But if you can hit,the manger is going to find you playing time.Kepp hit's.

at 3:45 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Rob & Hoosier-
Agreed EE is a great young talent,Team chemistry is huge, & continuity is something needed.

BUT & I mean but,if a stud pitcher came up for trade.EE is expendable.The reds have so much depth this season that alot players are expendable.

Pitching,Pitching,Pitching,Pitching, & more pitching.

Agreed ThE RH bat is needed,so many LH bat's on the roster as it is.Time will tell,who decides to show up & who doesn't show up.Making management's job easier.

Gookie-That's funny as hell,Good post.

Trade are always a risk.No matter who get's what.It's a part of baseball.You roll with the punches.Shut, people still talk about the worst trade in Baseball history.The Robinson/Pappas trade.Now,that gets people going,Especially the old schoolers!!!!

at 3:51 PM Blogger Red Faced said...

We need a proven right-handed bat that can drive in runs so we better leave EE in the lineup. Last year he had a BA of .360 with RISP and this team hasn't been able to get hits with RISP for the last 2 years so we better keep the one guy who can do it.

I'm with you Reaganspad on the Keppinger comment and turning DP's although one could argue that AGon's numbers last year in this regard should have been higher. I like Kepp's bat and I think we need it in the lineup but I don't know where to stick him on a regular basis.

So who's on the mound tonight for the Reds?

at 3:52 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

I agree that Kepp can hit, and hope to see him get 450 ab's.

And he can field SS for short periods of time efficiently. And he can play numerous places in the field. All good things.

Love his plate approach, socks and attitude. His glove is OK. If Kepp had Castro's "manos de oro" he would be Derek Jeter.

we understand from the Felipe Lopez years that offense at SS is not enough

at 4:03 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

We could probably get Bedard from Seattle for Mike Stanton at this point:

1-2 9.50 ERA, 18 innings 30 hits, 5 BB, 8 K's

Of course the Mariners would want us to pay some of Bedard's contract...

at 4:27 PM Blogger Jack in St. Louis said...

RE: I don't care if he goes 15-20 in spring training, he's going to hit .240 with an OBP of under .300 when it counts.

You really should check your stats before posting something like this. He's not a .240 hitter by any means. .269 and .276 his past two seasons, with 37 and 45 stolen bases.

at 8:46 PM Blogger REddlegg in Colorado said...

Jack in St.Louis-

Who are you talking about?

at 10:56 PM Blogger NVreds said...

jack - stick to one name please, your not fooling us anymore we're not 2nd graders

trading EE would leave a huge hole at 3rd and in the lineup. like it or not we need his RH bat and his defense is getting way better, he has great range and a strong arm. An errant throw every once in awhile is not a reason to dump a guy who hits well w/ RISP

at 3:57 PM Blogger Brandon said...

Seriously if "hate" offends you that much reevaluate life, nothing immature about it. Grown ups use grown up words and hate isn't even one f those words. I can sit here and say I do HATE 90% of Cincy fans. I'm not coming out and saying names of people from this blog but it just never fails that any move that is made is complained about. I mean really why all the "dislike" for Corey Patterson? He is signed to a minor league deal, he has done NOTHING bad here and he has produced. Shouldn't we be happy if he takes off and is a good top of the order guy? And EE for a good Pitcher is a whole different story than benching EE for AGon and Kepp like others have said.

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