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

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Roster madness

Here is my predicted roster, posted on Feb. 5:

Starting eight
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
SS Alex Gonzalez
3B Edwin Encarnacion
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
CF Jay Bruce
LF Adam Dunn
C David Ross


Bench:
OF/INF Jeff Keppinger
OF/INF Ryan Freel
OF Norris Hopper
C Javier Valentin
1B Scott Hatteberg

Rotation:
Aaron Harang
Bronson Arroyo
Matt Belisle
Jeremy Affeldt
Homer Bailey


Bullpen:
Francisco Cordero
David Weathers
Jared Burton
Bill Bray
Mike Stanton
Todd Coffey
Edinson Volquez

Pretty weak effort on the rotation. I went 2-for-5. Not much better on the bullpen -- 4-for-7. I did much better on the position player. Bruce was the big swing and miss.

Of course, we still don't know for sure what the Opening Day roster will be. The Reds are at 31 less than 24 hours before they board a plane to go north. My guess is they take 26 or 27 and make the final decision Sunday morning. He's my last stab at predicting the final 25-man:

Starting lineup:
Corey Patterson CF
Jeff Keppinger SS
Ken Griffey Jr. RF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Adam Dunn LF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Joey Votto 1B
David Ross C

Bench
Ryan Freel INF/OF
Juan Castro INF
Scott Hatteberg 1B
Norris Hopper OF
Javy Valentin C

Rotation
Aaron Harang
Bronson Arroyo
Johnny Cueto
Josh Fogg
Edinson Volquez

Bullpen
Francisco Cordero
David Weathers
Todd Coffey
Kent Mercker
Jared Burton
Jeremy Affeldt
Mike Lincoln

You could see Matt Belisle or Jim Brower make it if the Reds decide they need a long man. I'm also not convinced that Hopper definitely makes it. Jolbert Cabrera has more pop in his bat and can play more positions. Jerry Hairston Jr. is another possibility. I guess three catchers is another possibility.


21 Comments:

at 10:36 PM Blogger redbeard said...

John I was surprised to hear you say that about Hopper. I guess I haven't been following it all that close after Bruce got sent out, but I figured the Reds would go with a Patterson/Hopper platoon in center. From your comments it appears that Dusty is going to send Patterson out in center most every day. Is that correct?

--Redbeard

 
at 10:44 PM OpenID bart756 said...

Honestly, can you tell me why they continue to carry Castro? Am i missing something with this guy?

 
at 10:45 PM Blogger RedVol said...

I don't think Hopper makes it. He's been non-existent the last 2 weeks while Dusty has played Cabrera, Hairston, and Phillips a bunch. My guess is Cabrera makes it due to his better slugging and Hopper has an option left.

 
at 11:07 PM Blogger redfuture said...

Glad to see your comments again John! Yeah, what a ride it has been. From day one I thought Affeldt would be in the pen. I wanted 2 of the 3 studs in the rotation, I just figured it would be Bailey & Cueto. Figured that Volquez's command would make him fit the pen best, but Mario must have worked wonders with his command. Bailey will never be a pen guy and it seems the staff got through to him about the lessons he needs to learn and put into practice. He may be here before the break. We all thought Bruce would put up Hamilton-like numbers this spring but he didn't and needs a few weeks of AAA. By mid-May Bruce will be in there for Cory. No one thought they'd bite the bullet on Stanton, buy hooray, they did. They need a long man because there will be occassions when Cueto & Volquez will need early help. That's why Brower is still hanging around, but if Belisle looks healthy he'll get that spot and swap out Fogg after he builds strength. I'm a EE supporter but he looks totally lost right now. I think they need to send him to AAA for a couple weeks to ignite him like last year.

 
at 11:14 PM Blogger NVreds said...

I have some advice for J. Swinger after watching the "flipping" article: buy a video camera...please

I think i gave myself a headache watching that.

 
at 11:21 PM Blogger Bengal43 said...

Not to brag but I believe I was the first one to bring up Hopper not making the team. He hasn't played in a big league game since the 21st. Also Hairston played CF today showing that he could play there behind Patterson and Freel. The last position player may only be on the team till Gonzalez comes back.
John..any update on Gonzalez?

Don't be surprised if the Reds go with 11 pitchers for the first week then Bray would have been sent down to AAA for the required 10 days before he can come back.

 
at 11:30 PM Blogger bearcat1984 said...

I personally can't see keeping reckless and mediocre Freel versus Hopper.

 
at 12:16 AM Blogger Phill said...

Freel's versatility has a utility player and the fact that his numbers except for last year(in which he suffered a concussion) his OBP and OPS have been comparable with what Hopper has done.

Freel in 05 and 06 hit .271 with an OBP of at LEAST .360 with 35+ steals. Freel was able to work walks as well. Last year he had a down year and well I can't imagine concussions that were bad enough that an ambulance had to be brought onto the field anyone would have good stats.

Not trying to make a case for Freel over Hopper, I happen to like both of them.Just pointing out that Freel is more than just a reckless monkey(which he truly is).

 
at 12:25 AM Blogger Branden said...

Hey John,
Do you still see a possiblity of freel being traded before opening day?

 
at 1:18 AM Blogger Matt said...

Hopper has a career .386/.423/.492/.915 against lefties. Should this discussion even continue? He's not bad against righties either except for slugging. Freel is .250/.350/.376/.726 career against lefties. Patterson is .242/.275/.382/.658. Cabrera is .269/.315/.391/.706. Almost a third of at-bats go against lefties so Hopper has too much value as the platoon cf to cut him. I think the guys who have been battling for spots have been getting more time to showcase them not because Hopper is out of the mix. I can't say whether Hopper's successes at this level will fade but I think he'd be the first .330 hitter to be cut.

 
at 2:26 AM Blogger unblogger said...

I believe that I heard that Hopper was out with a "family emergency." I just hope it is not as bad as what Gonzo went through last year. This could hamper his chances to make the team on opening day, but I would bet that he is on the team at some point during the year.

 
at 8:19 AM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

they continue to carry castro cause he's making a bunch of money, and they need his defense in late innings while gonzalez is out. dusty doesn't trust keppinger at SS.

i'd be surprised if they sent castro home even when alex comes back. if that knee injury is recurring, and it sounds like it could be, castro is the only guy on that team that can play a decent shortstop.

well, aside from phillips. i know they won't move him, but if they did, EE at 3B, BP at SS, Kepp at 2B, and Votto at 1B would be pretty solid young infield, no?

 
at 8:55 AM Blogger redsfanwoody said...

Don't be so hard on yourself John. I don't think anyone thought at the beginning of spring training that Cueto and Volquez were going to make the rotation.

Now that spring training is winding down,m he focus can shift to who will be called up if and when anyone on the 25 man roster struggles or gets injured. Should be keep the debate lively. Especially when Gonzalez comes back. Man that is going to set this blog a jumpin'.

On a different note, Good luck to Doug Davis.

 
at 9:37 AM Blogger ExactlyEsasky said...

What's interesting to me about this is the 40-man roster implications. Right now 4 NRI's make the team: Cueto, Mercker, Patterson, and either Lincoln or Brower. There may be a 5th, if we keep either Cabrera or Hairston.

If you have to drop 5 guys off the 40-man, who are they? A few are easy: Stanton, of course, and I'd say Ryan Hanigan is pretty easy, and for me I'd be okay with Dickerson and Drew T. Anderson getting dropped. My 5th would be Ramon Ramirez, I guess. But we're quite likely to flat-out lose all the younger guys to other org's.

But wow, that is a lot of 40-man turnover. To me, McBeth or Bray could have easily made this team (both already on the 40-man); personally, I'm sorry they're giving up on Affeldt as a starter and wish they'd send him to L'ville to keep on with that attempt.

 
at 10:01 AM Blogger Joe said...

I hope the Reds are able to trade Freel. Last year may not be the right barometer for comparing he and Hopper, but Hopper's offensive contribution was significantly better. Freel should be appealing to a team in need of a versatile utility player with some offensive capabilty. Juan Castro is anohter question mark for me. He may be the late inning defensive replacement for Keppinger, but what happens whn Gonzo comes back?

 
at 10:31 AM Blogger reaganspad said...

When Gonzo comes back, he plays short.

Kepp starts rotating on the Freel Plan, getting AB's at 5 positions.

great point Esasky about the 40 man turnover...

 
at 11:34 AM Blogger Jeff said...

I understand that the glut of left hand relievers has forced Bray (who has options) to be the odd man out. My confusion is why Brower is still in the hunt for the last spot in the bullpen. He's been terrible and his perfomance the last few seasons has been consisitent with his performance this spring. I know the Roenicke is very short on minor league experience, but at least he's shown that he can get guys out. What has Brower done that has put him in the hunt?

 
at 11:45 AM Blogger anti-media said...

Guys: Its great to be positive,but face the facts.We can't even get the best 25 guys in uniform because of the W.K. blunders.Long term screw ups have put us in bad situations..BTW I never said Kearns & Lopez were great.The fact is right now we have nothing for them.Cluless claimed we had to pay big to get good pitching...what a joke,thank God for Bob C. & W.J.!Wake UP CINCY FIRE KRIVSKY

 
at 12:06 PM Blogger lacesoutdan said...

Where is Jon Coutlangus? Did I miss something and he's not with the organization anymore? Because he had a very solid rookie season and I cannot believe Mike Lincoln (who?) is a better choice for the last rotation spot. From what I've read, it seems like Coutlangus was never even in consideration.

 
at 1:39 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

reagan ..you mean like Affeldt was going to be a great starter, Homer Bailey would be a savior and Juan Castro should be our starting SS


Too funny my friend

 
at 8:16 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

jack, alex Gonzales is our starting Shortstop. Castro is the second best SS, not the starter. Never said he was.

I still would take the flier on Affeldt. Homer needs work, and Coffey is lights out

 
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