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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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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Dusty on Cueto

There's a lot of spring training to go. But it sounds like Dusty Baker wants Johnny Cueto in his rotation. A sample of the what Baker said about Cueto, the 22-year-old right-hander, today:

"Who's looked better than him?"

On making the big leagues after so little Triple-A time: "Everybody doesn't have to go through the natural progression, especially pitchers. Hitters have more they have to work on."

"If you have good stuff, you can make hitters swing and miss and foul off pitches off. Ninety-five is 95. Ninety-five with location, boy."

It was pointed out that Cueto hit 97. "I believe that -- 97 with location and nasty change-up and slider."

Again, it's early so ratings can change quickly, but here's how the starters in competition for the rotation -- Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are off the board -- have looked:

1. Cueto
2. Josh Fogg
3. Homer Bailey
4. Edinson Volquez
5. Jeremy Affeldt
6. Matt Belisle
7. Matt Maloney

Past perfromance will be a factor in who makes it, of course. No one but Maloney has pitched their way out of the race. It will be interesting from here on out. Affeldt is going to make the team but he could be shifted to the bullpen. Same goes for Volquez.


at 9:43 AM Blogger tim said...

What about Belisle, does he have any chance of making the rotation again this year?

at 9:44 AM Blogger docproc said...

Glad to hear that it looks like Dusty is willing to give Cueto a shot at the rotation. He deserves it.

I was supposed to be at today's game at The Ed but I'm still snowbound here in Cinci. We're hoping to get a flight out tomorrow morning. See you in St. Pete for Reds/Rays?

at 9:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our good friend Josh Hamilton is tearing the ball off the cover in Arizona for the Texas Rangers, and it appears this Edinson Volquez is being outdone by Josh Fogg in Spring Training. Great Job Wayne!

at 9:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, that list is almost meaningless without Belisle's name on there somewhere.

at 9:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Matt Belisle?
Is he out of the equation too?
If the rotation is Harang, Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey and Fogg, does Belisle go back to the bullpen (where he does well, I think, by the way)? Does Bailey go back to Louisville to work on command? What happens?

Depth, I love depth.
Bullpen--Belisle, Affeldt, Weathers, Cordero, Burton, Volquez, and Bray (if healthy).

Imagine--that leaves Majewski, Coffey, McBeth, Roenicke, Coutlangus, Salmon, and Maloney in Louisville, able to come up to help in case of injury or poor performance!

Yes, it is just spring training, but things really are looking up!

Michael in NCH

at 10:00 AM Blogger John Fay said...

Whoops. Forgot Belisle. Amend list now up.

at 10:04 AM Blogger John Fay said...

I'll be in St. Pete. Getting there shoould not be a problem, although the winds adn still howling.

at 10:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Belisle is an accidental omission. Mr. Fay, as well as WK & Dusty, have repeatedly/consistently had him pegged right behind Harang & Arroyo.

That has made no sense to me. How can Belisle be ahead of Cueto, Bailey, and Volquez? Do we really want him to have a spot in the rotation instead of any of those three young guys? Plus he also has to beat out Affeld and now Fogg? I see him as ok insurance, but that's about it.

Belisle has consistently been a big part of the problem. Now, all of a sudden this year, he's going to be a big part of the solution? Maybe there's a chance, but maybe there's a better chance Tom Shearn would win more games than Belisle, if he got the opportunity.

at 10:16 AM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Forgetting Belisle is a good idea.

at 10:16 AM Anonymous MJ said...

Carry a brick John.

at 10:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that rotation. Belisle can start growing tomatoes out in the bullpen.
I never thought handing him the #3 spot just because he was here, was a good idea.

at 10:23 AM Anonymous MONEY MIKE said...

Maybe I can blindside my fantasy league by picking up Cueto

at 10:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:53

Would you like to make a bet on how many times Hamilton is on the DL this year? When he plays, he is sensational. When he is sitting in the trainer's room, he is not. You can't build a team around a part time sensation. The guy is fragile. That is a fact from his history, ignoring the drug problem. Kvrisky knows that and he got the best price he could.

at 10:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trading Volquez for Hamilton was a good trade by WK. Hamilton was a head-case, refused to play after Narron was fired and/or has injury problems, and was not liked by team mates. His "feel good" story was a distraction to other players. Name me one player on the Reds that actually liked this guy -- no one to my knowledge.

I think Hamilton may have a great career, or at least good years, in MLB. However, he needed to do it somewhere else than Cinci.

Meanwhile, many young pitchers that turn out to be good, start off poorly. Look at stats for Glavine, Maddux, and others -- most pitchers did not dominate right out of the box who went on to have a good careers.

Volquez has a 95MPH fast ball, and pitched decently last year for TX with his 4.50 ERA -- TX is also a hitters' ball park - and I think was a risk well worth taking. I think Volquez can be a lot better.
He has a lot of upside.

With Bruce and Hopper, and the contract of Freel, Hamilton was expendable for the right guy. If Volquez was in fact already a stud based upon past experience, TX would not have taken Hamilton for him.

Trading Hamilton, mostly b/c of his attitude, was a good deal in my opinion.

at 10:35 AM Anonymous Dumbledore said...

Harang, Arroyo, Cueto, Fogg, Bailey


Belisle, Affeldt, Volquez, Bray, Burton, Weathers and Cordero in the bullpen.

That looks like a pitching staff with a heck of a lot of potential to be good/great. We won't know until games start counting for real, but if that's our pitching staff I like our chances of competing at a consistent, high level.

at 10:36 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like Cueto -- Hope he makes the rotation.

Cueto, Bailey, and Volquez could be real good starters for the Reds. Cueto is awesome.

at 10:38 AM Anonymous MONEY MIKE said...

Hamilton didnt refuse to play w/o Johnny Naron it was jus that he preferred to have Johnny there. I wouldnt exactly call JH a headcase...i would call it a lack of management making sure that no one gets special treatment.

at 10:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...


On the subject of Gonzo coming back. I know they said 3 weeks,but how long do you think Gonzo will be back starting at SS again. Seems to to me 3 weeks is aufully short of a time tom think he will be ready for opening day. He will have to get himself back into shape and then will his leg be strong to go through the riggers ,with the twisting and turning ,of even playing for just 3 short weeks?

at 10:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I remember is BP last year commenting that part of the problem with the Reds was the focus on Hamilton. People seemed to be more concerned about Hamilton's play/stats than whether the Reds' won.

Hamilton played a lot less in the second half than the first half.

I also remember him saying that if the Reds fired his personal coach, Narron -- a personal coach that no one else had, that he may not then play for the Reds. It was too much of a soap opera with this guy.

Calling him a head case may be unfair -- but I think he needed to be traded. I think Hamilton will have a good career -- has great talent. Just like the Volquez trade for him...

at 10:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, losing a quality guy like AHmilton is always hard to take. Since the Reds have a glut of good outfielders, the trade for a good young pitcher is a great trade.

The Reds have Hopper, Freel, Bruce, Dunn, and Griffey who can be considered starting outfielders. In a market where good picthing is hard to find, the Reds have stock piled a good of guys.

Way to go WK!

at 10:51 AM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

anon 9;53 anon 10:54

its way too premature to start dissing Hamilton , The dude was outta baseball for 3 years, he needed an offseason and spring training to get baseball ready.Lets see how he does this year before writing him off as fragile. You want to talk fragility.. talk Griffey

In your opinion Volquez may be a stud or have a great upside. Unfortunately he has not proven anything at the major league level.

Hamilton was one of the better liked players on the team, the dude has absolutely no attitude and certainly did not refuse to play because of Narron

10:34 anon name us one player you actually know and told you that Hamilton was disliked . I met the guy last year and found both him and his wife to be two of the most polite decent people ya wanna know
quit making stuff up dude

at 10:54 AM Blogger John Fay said...

I don't see anyway that Gonzalez is ready by Opening Day. He won't begain baseball activities until least March 21. Patterson and Hairston caem to camp March 5. Baker's not going to play them until the 11th.

at 10:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rangers at the plate: Josh Hamilton hit a long grand slam in the third inning, when the Rangers batted around against two Brewers pitchers and scored six runs. The first six batters in the inning reached base including Ian Kinsler and Frank Catalanotto, who hit RBI singles. Then came the big blow by Hamilton, who doubled his Cactus League RBI total. Catalanotto finished with a pair of RBIs.

at 10:56 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rangers at the plate: Josh Hamilton had a second big day at the plate with an RBI triple in the first inning and a single in the fourth. David Murphy was 2-for-2 and Ian Kinsler was 2-for-3 in the leadoff spot.

at 10:57 AM Blogger FarisLL3 said...

I know he's a reliever, not a starter, but don't forget Roenicke when looking at pitchers. He's awesome.

at 10:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton can and does put on a show when the Rangers take batting practice. There are prodigious shots, one after another, clearing fences in all directions. His remarkably quick and powerful stroke wows even his teammates.

at 11:12 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

***His remarkably quick and powerful stroke wows even his teammates.***

It is so quick he has been known to sprain his wrist in the on-deck circle. And he said it wasn't the first time he has done that.

Willy Mo wowed his team mates too.

at 11:33 AM Anonymous Mike the Pharmacist said...

"In your opinion Volquez may be a stud or have a great upside. Unfortunately he has not proven anything at the major league level."

And you know what? Hamilton hasn't really proven a hell of a lot either... he played a partial season, and yes, he put up some pretty decent numbers - and had some injuries as well.

at 11:34 AM Anonymous smtides said...

I think the Volquez/Hamilton trade is one that is going to end up being really good for both teams...as long as the Reds lock Dunn up long-term. Nothing wrong with a mutually beneficial trade.

John, I wanted to ask you why think Bailey has been more impressive than Volquez? I've been a regular at ST games this year and have made it a point to see both pitchers, and I have really liked what I have seen from Volquez.

I saw Cueto for the first time yesterday. Wow, he's impressive. I know it's only 3 ST innings, but I don't care. You can't fake that kind of arm.

at 11:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our good friend Josh Hamilton is tearing the ball off the cover in Arizona for the Texas Rangers, and it appears this Edinson Volquez is being outdone by Josh Fogg in Spring Training. Great Job Wayne!

at 11:41 AM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

Volquez was not even considered a lock to make the major league team..Hamilton is. Hamilton has posted some pretty darn impressive numbers at the majors..Volquez has not..Mikey

Funny how the reds apologists bring up injury as an excuse but never comment on the Griffeys or the Freels

at 11:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rangers at the plate: Josh Hamilton had a second big day at the plate with an RBI triple in the first inning and a single in the fourth. David Murphy was 2-for-2 and Ian Kinsler was 2-for-3 in the leadoff spot.

at 11:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 953 Anonymous

Think of Volquez as an investment for the future and Hamilton as part of the past. We had too many outfielders and not enough pitchers and that is a fact. Hamilton is doing great right now,but will it last with Hamilton's injury history? Volquez is untested towards major league hitters,but give him a chance. It may not be this year,but his time will come.
What the problem is now days is that people want things to work or succed this instant and not let things mature and grow. I think you and others are one of these people. I wouldn"t expect you to be President of the United States this instant without some seasoning first and that is what Volquez is going thriugh.
Mike from California

at 11:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hamilton has already missed a couple of games due to injury. Getting anything for Hamilton may turn out to be one of the smarter moves of the season, if Hamilton continues to have health issues.

at 12:02 PM Blogger jdeezman said...

Why are we still talking about Hamilton?

It's over ladies, drop it.

Good luck to you Josh Hamilton, and as for the baseball realists here, we'd rather take our chances on young pitchers with potential than recovering addicts who are fragile.

Hamilton and his family were very nice people... as I'm sure Volquez and his family are too, as well as Herrara.

I hope Hamilton continues to tear the cover off the ball in spring training, he should. I hope he stays healthy and has a great career, but I doubt his health will hold up.

As stated above, I hope he does great and Volquez and Herrara do too. A mutually benefitting trade IS the best thing.

This is a Reds board though, not a Rangers board. Mario Soto has spoken up for Cueto and Volquez... and that is a helluva endorsement in my book.

I guarantee that Mario Soto knows more than Jack, Cheviot, Me, John Fay, and everyone else on this board combined.

When it all is said and done, a good pitching staff is more important than 1 stud outfielder... isn't it?

at 12:07 PM Blogger John Fay said...

SMTides: You're paying close attention. Bailey over Volquez was the hardest call on the list. I didn't see either one of them pitch in Boston, but it's very close.

at 12:21 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

11:47 if we have too many outfielders why is everyone so concerned about Bruce being sent down and lack of depth in the outfield?

please don't lecture me on impatience..you make an argument to suggest that we show patience with Volquez because you like him and yet you potentially write off a very young ballplayer like Hamilton off .. pretty hypocritical

we have
outfielders like Ken Griffey locked into a franchise killing 12 million dollar a year contract..thats the problem

11:54 anon no games have been played yet..I assume you are speaking of spring training

at 12:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how high the Reds alarmist would jump in the air if you snuck up on them and whispered " BOO "?

at 1:20 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

If enough people complain can't we just do a re-do of the Hamilton trade? Get over it, it's done, here's hoping both players have long, healthy, productive careers. I'm not going to root against Hamilton just because he's not here anymore. But I am going to root for Volquez cuz he's here now.

at 1:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack in Blue Ash -

Hamilton has not done anything either in the great scheme of things & spent much of the year injured. He was an absolute bust for Tampa. Volquez is younger than Hamilton.

People are dishing the Volquez trade & I happen to think it was a good one. Pitching is a lot harder to come by than finding an outfielder.

He plays in the outfield & there are plenty of good hitting outfielders around the majors, including a few on this team.

Just b/c you met him & he said hello to you does not mean anything. I thought he hurt the chemistry on this team. That's it - DUDE

That being said, I think now that he has a season under his belt, he will probably fit in just fine with TX & play very well. With his relationship with Narrons & the Narrons being fired, the Reds really had no choice but to trade him.

at 1:56 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I can't post for some reason. It's 4-2 Reds. BPhillips has a home run and two-run double.

at 1:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, is there any concern with the fact that Cueto pitched more than 180 innings last year at age 21? Might the Reds start him at AAA with plans to bring him up in June or so in an attempt to limit his innings this year? Easier to limit innings in AAA than in the majors. Kind of like what the Yankees did with Joba (bullpen) and the Sox did with Bucholtz last year (shut him down in Sept)?

at 2:02 PM Anonymous mikec said...

1. This race just got real interesting...
2. Let's not judge a trade on ONE WEEK of spring training...
3. Anyone who thinks Tom Shearn will win more games than Belisle this year if given a chance doesn't pay attention. Dude tops out at 86... Shearn was last year's Chris Michalak. He's OK for a spot start when your oponent doesn't have a scouting report on him and no one has faced him. But the guy made his debut at that age for a reason. He'll be lucky to win as many games in his career as Belisle did last year. If he made 30 starts for the Reds other teams would hit him hard. He'd be in Jimmy Haynes territory....

at 2:06 PM Anonymous mikec said...

Coming in here is how I handicapped the race if all guys pitched equally (ie, who does management prefer in the rotation):

1. Belisle
2. Affeldt
3. Bailey
4. Volquez
5. Fogg
6. Maloney
7. Fogg

at 2:17 PM Blogger redbeard said...

Thanks for the update on the rotation. The rotation to me is looking like it could actually be a strength instead of a weakness for perhaps the first time in a decade.

As a life long Reds fan I cannot express how excited I am about a rotation that for the next 5 years should include Harang, Cueto, Bailey, Volquez, and Arroyo.

For those of you who have seen Cueto and Volquez live can you rank the pure "stuff" of the 5 pitchers I mentioned in the previous paragraph. It would be nice for me to have a reference to those guys I've seen pitch for the Reds compared with the new guys. Thanks for an imput here.

Also if Belisle doesn't make the rotation what do you expect to happen to him and do you think he could possibly be traded to a pitching starved team. I'd think a package of Belisle and Freel might be able to garner a player to fit some area of need for the Reds (though I don't even really know what that area would be -- maybe catcher).


at 2:18 PM Blogger John Fay said...

It's 6-4, Braves. Affeldt gave up a four-spot in the fourth.

at 2:21 PM Anonymous wanderinredsfan said...

To add fuel to the fire of Jack's man-crush:
One of the Narrons was hired as Josh Hamilton's personal assistant and will be staying in an adjacent hotel room during all away games. Basically, Josh concedes that he needs a 'babysitter' to get him through a season. I know of no other player with such audacity.

at 2:25 PM Blogger Steve said...

Belisle continues his propensity of pitching well for an inning or two then getting lit-up. Chris Welsh harped on this fact last year and I know it's early, but the same thing is happening in ST.

Go with Cueto, Fogg and Bailey to round out the roation. Belise is your long right-handed reliever or spot start and Affeldt your left.

at 2:28 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Yes, the trade is done. I'll root like heck for Volquez and Hamilton after all I'm a relocated Reds fan in Ranger territory. However, I never saw much logic in that trade since the Reds already had two stud pitchers to work into the rotation. Griffey will be gone next year (and possibly injured this year) and an outfield of Dunn, Hamilton & Bruce would have been dynamite. I don't think for a minute that Hamilton is fragile. I think a lot of his problems were related to a winter of 24/7 work preparing to make the jump from 'A' ball to MLB ball. He didn't have to wear himself out this winter for the season so he'll be able to last.

at 2:29 PM Anonymous GregD said...

Other than ERA, Belisle's numbers look a lot like Arroyo's last year. I would expect both Arroyo & Belisle to pitch about 4.00-4.50 ERA this year, given a full year in the rotation.

at 2:55 PM Blogger redfuture said...

How come nothing has been made of the Reds acquiring another former Dusty centerfielder, Armando Rios?

at 2:57 PM Anonymous smtides said...


I've now seen both Cueto and Volquez, about 3 innings each. Those are the two best arms in Reds camp, bar none. VERY impressive arms.

Cueto looked more polished, but both of them are the two most talented young arms the Reds have had in a long, long time.

I would rank Harang 3rd as far as pure stuff, but his stuff is plenty good and he gets every ounce out of it.

Bailey, to me, is a bit over-rated. I hope I'm wrong, but he doesn't look like a #1 to me. I'm going to see him Monday night vs Yankees here in Tampa. I hope he steps up to the challenge he's getting from Cueto. We shall see.

I love Arroyo, but he's more guts and brains than stuff.

at 3:11 PM Anonymous Mike the Pharmacist said...

1) "One of the Narrons was hired as Josh Hamilton's personal assistant and will be staying in an adjacent hotel room during all away games" A grown man... that's pathetic.

2) It boggles my mind that anyone continues to think that Ryan Freel has any trade value at all...

at 3:19 PM Blogger jdeezman said...

smtides, thanks for the second outlook from a live perspective.
It's nice to have a problem of young pitchers looking good.

Let's just hope that they do it throughout the season!

at 3:55 PM Blogger Jack in Blue Ash said...

live perspective is the best..thats why Jack and I go to as many games as possible. Nothing like having the opportunity to do so on a regular basis

Mike if you were a health care professional, like us, you would show a little compassion towards individuals like Hamilton

Lots of pro athletes have substance abuse issues Mike, this including the great babe Ruth

Hamilton has a wonderful wife and two very special little girls..I hope for their sake he does well. And if he does..baseball will benefit will having an outfielder with skills equal to the great Mickey Mantle

Julie RN

at 4:13 PM Anonymous Mike the Pharmacist said...

"Hamilton has a wonderful wife and two very special little girls"

What a coincidence, so do I.... guess I should get ready to suit up and play CF this year.

at 4:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 4:51 PM Anonymous wanderinredsfan said...

Did someone just equate Hamilton to Micky Mantle? This thread is a riot.

at 6:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cueto has pitched 5 innings and Maloney has pitched 2, both against a mix of major and minor leaguers, and we're already declaring one in and one out? Slow news day.

at 8:08 PM Anonymous Noggy said...

I'm shocked actually.... Belisle is that far down the list? Really? Fogg /Affeldt are better than him? I don't think so.

I'm one of the few that wants Belisle in our rotation. I think he can be a 14 game winner this year. Belisle is where Fogg is but he still has potential where Fogg has peaked already. I thought Belisle was a lock for the rotation...

Harang/Arroyo/Belisle/Bailey/Cueto would make me a happy Reds fan but it's not gonna happen.

at 4:27 AM Anonymous NVreds said...

jack, comparing mickey mantle to hamilton is probably the worst thing I have EVER read on here. I mean wow this kid played half a season and you want to compare him to one of the all-time greats??!?

Hamilton is not "very young" he's 29, thats probably closer to the avgerage major-leaguer.

no one needs to be a health care professional to show compassion for hamilton, I think this was a mutually beneficial trade, and it made sense I liked hamilton too, but we needed pitching and from what I've heard volquez has the ability, showed it a little last yr, and is way younger than josh. We needed better pitching, this wasn't the ideal option, but it was definately the best.

I'm actually kind of insulted by the mantle reference, to be honest. you can't just come up with random stuff that sounds good. thats hipocritical, saying that is way crazier than stating volquez will work out.

at 6:42 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belisle is nothing more than a releiver. How many quality starts did he have last year? 3? He proved what he could do last year, not much as far as starting!!

at 9:37 AM Blogger nhelmstetter said...

I think Belisle starts the year in the rotation. Dusty's earlier comments about him indicate he is a lock for the rotation. As for the rest, it would be easy to see Josh Fogg in the rotation with a solid, but not exceptional, spring. The last spot will go to either Bailey or Volquez. The other should be in the 'pen getting experience against big leaguers (rather than wasting those innings on Stanton). As for Affeldt, he is too good of a bullpen arm to have in the rotation, no matter how bad he wants to be there. He has been cronically bad as a starter in the past and there is no reason to beleive he'd be any better because of a few good seasons in the 'pen.

at 10:12 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all of you who are making things up, Hamilton is 26 and Belisle had 11 quality starts last year.

Doesn't take much to find this information on the net.

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