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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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Monday, April 28, 2008

Freel's frustrated, really frustrated

Ryan Freel isn't in the lineup for tonight's game with Cardinals. I approached him for a "Gee, you're hitting well" note. I got a little more of a story.

Freel is angry and frustrated.

"I'm trying to be careful about what I say,” Freel said. “I've really got nothing good to say right now. There was a lot of stuff said that misinterpreted or mis-communicated this offseason."

"It would have stunned a lot of people if they heard what was said about me. Apparently, I said I couldn't play every day to the manager. Apparently, I told him that this offseason. That would have never come out of mouth."

Therein lies the problem. Freel thinks that Dusty Baker misunderstanding of something Freel said led to some of the moves the Reds made -- like bringing in Corey Patterson to play center field and leadoff.

"I talked to Wayne (Krivsky) to tell him I didn't say that," Freel said. "I would never in a million years say that. They gave me a two-year ($7 million) deal. I don't think it was to do this. It's frustrating. I can't explain it. There’s a lot going on. It's a shame that I had to address it like this. I didn't want to get the media involved."

Freel and Baker have talked.

"It was a misunderstanding," Baker said. "I thought it was over. It's over as far as I'm concerned."

But Freel remains frustrated. He's clearly outhit Patterson lately. Freel was 5-for-11 with two doubles and three RBI in the San Francisco series. He's made eight starts. He's had hits in last seven. He's hitting .387 with a .424 on-base percentage in his starts.

Freel admits he wasn't very good last year. But he spent most of the year injured or coming back from injuries.

"I wouldn't talk about this if we were winning. But we're losing. This isn't team we are. We're not an under .500 team. It's kind of hard to do anything about it when you're sitting around playing only every four days. I wasn't the issue before last year.”

Freel hit .245 with .308 on-base last year with 15 steals.

"They never gave me an opportunity to come in and rebound from last year."


36 Comments:

at 6:57 PM Blogger Phill said...

I have to agree with Freel. I don't hate Corey Patterson but it's been shown he isn't a lead off guy. Freel on the other hand in 06 had stats similar to guys like Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins with an obvious lack of their power or Reyes' base stealing abilities.

Freel's getting the short end of the stick because Krivsky and Baker got tied up in 3 mill to C-Pat.

 
at 7:07 PM Blogger Richie Rich said...

Was this before or after he overran 2nd base the other night and was tagged out? Let's face it, this guy plays hard, but he also plays dumb. Baserunning mistakes, running into walls, running into other players, running into old ladies in the stands. When he does play every day, he doesn't produce. Whether he said it or not, he can't play everyday.

 
at 7:10 PM Blogger Donkey Dizzle 4's said...

Soooo what IS the lineup John??

 
at 7:11 PM Blogger Eric said...

Great stuff. Love the blog for this kind of info. I don't blame Freel for being upset, because I don't think he's gonna make something like this up. Ryan's not better than Jay Bruce, who I'd rather see in center, but he is and has been a better player than Patterson. I think Freel has lost a step, and he can't steal as successfully anymore, but he can still hit, and when he's hot, he should be in the lineup everyday over Patterson.

Dusty needs to realize that he was simply wrong about Corey Patterson. Some decent numbers the last half of last year should not have been taken to be more important than the back of his baseball card over 8 seasons. He swings at the first pitch too often and takes far too few walks to be a good hitter.

Castellini needs to open up his wallet one more time so Patterson can be released. It's not too late to save this season. Hopefully Arroyo can rebound, but if not, put him in the bullpen like he was in Boston. Bring up Bailey and Bruce. Trade Griffey after he gets to 600 home runs and gets hot. Then put Bruce in right and leave Freel/Hopper/Hairston in center and to leadoff. You're not going to pay Griffey and Dunn after this year, and Griffey needs to go DH at this point in his career. I think Jockety can figure out most of this stuff.

There's still hope, Reds fans. The rotation is as good as it's been since I can remember, and with the young arms there is a future. Get rid of Patterson now! Freel knows the team would be better off that way and I bet the rest of the team does too. Fix the locker room and save this season!

 
at 7:16 PM Blogger ST fan said...

If the REDS win, they can play anyone in CF and lead-off and they fans won't care. But if they continue to lose, they better play Freel because he brings lots of excitement for the fans to enjoy. That's why he got the big contracts. He's a crowd pleaser. He plays HARD and with Jr and Dunn standing around in the OF and on base, Freel's hard play is a contrast and a pleasure to see.

 
at 7:18 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Freel has a very legit beef. he had a nice weekend in San Fran, he's a hot hand, they won two in a row, why not let him play? Really, the dude has a point. He's not received a chance at all this year.

 
at 7:19 PM Blogger Dave said...

Freel makes as much as Patterson. His "problem" is being 3 years older, and supposedly not very durable. So what? Every time I've seen the man play, he's all-out hustle, and generally pretty smart (yes, he made a baserunning error the other day, but in general, he's a smart ballplayer). I think we should let him have that leadoff/CF spot until Bruce forces his way in, and even then, maybe Bruce forces a trade instead of a move. Freel has good cause for being frustrated, and who cares if he did say he can't play every day? Put him in there and let him earn his check - it's not like he'll loaf!

 
at 7:20 PM OpenID dudeworldorder said...

I thought I understood the signing of Patterson till I read awhile back he is making $3.5 million.

Why you give a guy without a job $3.5 million I don't know. Especially when you already have a CF (Freel) making the same $. If Patterson was making 1 or 1.5 it wouldn't be so bad but now Dusty pretty much has to play him and hope he plays pretty well.

Even at his beast Patterson never seemed like much of an upgrade from Freel or Norris Hopper.

I liked a lot of Krivsky's moves but you gotta believe that Patterson was one of the nails in his coffin....

 
at 7:36 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

I like the fact that Freel plays all out and he is valuable because he can fill in at several positions, although he doesn't play any of them exceptionally well. He does get hot with the bat for short streaks but it never lasts for long.
He is not an everyday player. He doesn't hit for average and he doesn't drive in runs when he has the opportunity. He plays stupid and his base running is atrocious. The contract that he got from the Amazing Krivsky is another example of why he (Krivsky) was relieved of his duties. Winning teams do not have Ryan Freels in their line-ups everyday. Corie Pattersons either for that matter. The only one getting screwed is Norris Hopper after the numbers he has put in the minors and for half of last season in CF.
St CSA

 
at 7:36 PM OpenID spmancuso said...

Honestly, neither Patterson or Freel is the answer. The Reds need to call up Jay Bruce and have him play CF most nights and RF/LF when they want to rest Dunn or Junior.

Patterson will never have an OBP high enough to be a lead off hitter. He's fine for a defensive OF substitute.

Freel just isn't a very good fielder, he is streaky as a hitter, and his liabilities as a base runner are obvious.

Our lineup should be:

Keppinger
Votto
Phillips
Griffey
Dunn
Encarnacion
Bruce
Bako/Ross
Pitcher

It seems like Keppinger is an obvious candidate for the leadoff spot, but that never seems to be considered.

 
at 7:37 PM Blogger va.redsfan said...

Fay man with the scoop again. Can't say that I blame Freel especially since Patterson went through an 0 for 20 +.

 
at 7:37 PM Blogger Steve said...

Would agree with Mr. Redlegs on this one: Freel produced in SF and should play tonight. He's not an every day player but right now, I'd take Freel in left over Dunn who hasn't "dunn" anything so far.

 
at 7:38 PM Blogger Craig said...

Freel has a beef, Baker assumed that Bruce had this long "injury history" so misunderstandings with Baker aren't unprecedented when they involve getting his boy Patterson into the starting lineup.

 
at 7:56 PM OpenID ajmlx9 said...

Baker reads way too much into the lefty/righty matchups.

Corey Patterson was not wanted in one of the worst 3 franchises in baseball - Baltimore. What makes him good enough for Cincinnati?

The way I see it, he is behind both Freel and Hopper. The only thing he has on them is speed, but he doesn't have Hopper's intangibles or Freel's heart.

Hopefully Jocketty can get him out of here.

 
at 7:57 PM Blogger stacky said...

I thought Patterson did OK over the series this weekend as well?

I cant blame Dusty for wanting to play a lefty instead of Freel today. Freel will get his chance this series in OF or IF. I guess we will then see if he plays better when he is PO'd!

 
at 8:06 PM Blogger mentalmidget said...

I've never been a big Freel fan. While I do appreciate his hustle, he's reckless. He lacks baseball IQ. However, there's no doubt Freel wants to win and contribute. That's a lot more than I can say of Griffey and Dunn. It seems like they're there for the paycheck.

I still can't believe WK signed Patterson for $3 million. BC should've saved that money and played Freel instead. Again, when Freel is in the game, I know he's out to win. Not the smartest baserunner but you know he never goes through the motions.

 
at 8:08 PM Blogger KevinFtMyers said...

I too feel bad for Freel, if there is one thing you cant argue about Freel is that he wants to play and he wants to be in Cincy.

But..times change and the orginization is trying to get better. Freel just isnt a top tier guy, he isnt even a second tier guy. He is, to be kind, a super sub.

He is 100% right about the 7 mil though and as of today is as good an option as Patterson, but I wouldnt play either of them.

My CF depth chart (orginization)
Hopper
Bruce
Hairston
Freel
Patterson

Remove hopper and Bruce for obvious reasons and my 25 man CF depth chart is left.

A note on Patterson, I do love him off the bench as a deffensive sub, and he would have gotten that ball off Molina Friday night
that was just out of Freelys reach.

 
at 8:08 PM Blogger Greg said...

he didn't receive a chance in spring training either.... it's disappointing seeing someone who's producing sit while someone who can't get on base gets the start (at lead off) over and over and over and over and over again! really... i was okay with patterson coming in, i was willing to give him 2-3 weeks... and... HE'S NOT THE GUY ANY REDS FAN WANTS LEADING OFF! defense... pretty good.. but good grief!

the base running error freely had ... whoops... oh well. did it hurt the team and possibly take the wind out of the game? maybe. but seriously, freel is one of the best base runners on the team. everyone makes a mistake.

 
at 8:10 PM Blogger gannfan said...

What part of "In Dusty We Trusty" doesn't Ryan Freel understand?

Dusty plays favorites. He played favorites here in Chicago and he'll play them in Cincinnati, win or lose.

 
at 8:14 PM Blogger Aaron in SC said...

GO WITH THE HOT BAT!!! Right now Freel had a nice series and we should be riding him. Patterson didn't play bad during his last series, but Dusty has a history with Patterson therefore he is getting the edge. Freel can play more than just CF. Play Freel in CF when lefty is on the mount and vice versa with Patterson. GO REDS!

 
at 8:15 PM Blogger Joe said...

You can't blame Freel for being frustrated and you like to have ballplayers who hate sitting the bench on your team. But with Patterson, Hopper and Hairston and Freel on the same team, playing in the same positions, you're not going to keep any of them happy long term?

If they could package one or even two of them, (Patterson preferably included) with Hatteberg, who is also frustrated with the lack of playing time, for a decent pitching prospect, it would free up a couple spots in the roster for Bailey and Bruce.

If Ryan is dissappointed now, when Bruce is up, he may never get out of the dugout. I would bet Hopper and Patterson would tell you they are not overly happy with their playing time either. If Gonzo makes it back this year some of these guys might as well plan on selling peanuts for action on game days.

 
at 8:20 PM Blogger Aaron in SC said...

FINALLY........Bill Bray called up and Coffey sent down.

 
at 8:23 PM Blogger mentalmidget said...

CSA,

Your 7:36 post his dead on, brother!! I couldn't have said it better. Of course I probably never will with my mental stature!!!!

 
at 8:47 PM Blogger Richie Rich said...

I'd take Freel in left over Dunn who hasn't "dunn" anything so far.

Yeah the remedy to starting off cold is sitting on the bench. You guys who want to bench your 40 home run, 100 RBI, 100 R guy apparently don't see the big picture. If his career numbers hold true, he's gonna hit. And while he's not, his .381 OBP (higher than Freel would give you) isn't hurting the team.

 
at 9:08 PM Blogger Mutaman said...

Just when I was starting to not totally dislike Freel.

Hey Ryan you get paid a lot of money to play when the manager tells you, and to keep your mouth shut. We don't need this nonsence.

 
at 9:49 PM Blogger icee82 said...

Hopefully Todd Coffey will stay in Louisville for the rest of the season. Last year, he was up and down for most of the summer but could never get hitters out on a consistent basis.

 
at 10:21 PM Blogger kingseyeland said...

This is exactly what Cubs fans were saying would happen, so I can't say I'm surprised. I'm amazed other Reds fans didn't expect this. Dusty plays favorites regardless of numbers, regardless of who is hot. That's why Patterson and Hairston play all the time, hot or cold, and that's why other players sit, regardless.

Average Reds fans love a guy who hustles. Doesn't matter what else he can do. Guys who hustle remind them of a certain #14 and they eat that up. You just don't forget 20+ years of #14. Wish Freel could hit like that.

 
at 10:51 PM Blogger Michael said...

The fundamental weakness with this team is at the top of the order with three below average CF's. Over 8 million dollars wrapped up in guys who flat out can not get on base often enough. In my mind, Hopper is the lesser of three evils and the Reds need to eat salary and move either Patterson or Freel (preferably Patterson). Terrible signing. If Freel was the one that missed the hit and run tonight...just another example of him not having his head in the game.

 
at 11:34 PM Blogger Mutaman said...

Whether Dusty plays favorites or not, or who should be in center, is not the issue. The point is when you don't get your way, you suck it up and wait for your chance, just like in the real world. You don't go whining to the press. (Good reporting by the way, John).

 
at 12:06 AM Blogger Dave said...

CSA - Norris Hopper is the answer in CF?! Let me run a few numbers by you guys...actually, 1st off, I like Hopper, think he's a good guy, and like him on the team, as a reserve. Now for the #s:

2007 Avg. .329
2007 Slg. .388 (ouch - bad for a .230 hitter)
2007 Bunting 18/26
2007 Avg. w/out bunts .295
2007 Slg. w/out bunts .329
SBs = 14/20, or 70% (with 75% as the general "go or don't go" cutoff; below Freel's rate, despite less-frequent attempts)

He's a great bunter, a decent slap-hitter, and a guy with absolute 0 power. He's an above avg. baserunner and a solid fielder. He is not a starting CF or leadoff on a good team, he's a late inning pinch-runner, D replacement, occasional pinch-hitter, and a decent fill-in for a resting starter. Unlike Freel, who has a decent arm, better wheels, and much more pop, Hopper is not getting cheated. In fact, he's porbably the guy to go down if Bruce gets promoted. I like him, but he's not the answer. We'll see that after 2 years, when Stubbs arrives...

 
at 7:07 AM Blogger Mr. Doom and Gloom said...

i don't see how a misunderstanding like this could happen with the great communicator at the helm, the man who "puts his players in a position to succeed" and "demands respect in the clubhouse"...what a load of crap...i still think dusty got a kick back from patterson on that ridiculous 3 million dollar contract

 
at 9:06 AM Blogger oldtimer said...

Dave 12:06

Your stats show exactly why Hopper IS a great lead off man. Can get on lots of ways, hits for a very good average, steals (intelligently), can play a solid outfield.

How much power did Maury Wills have? Virtualy none, yet he's considered the prototype great lead off hitter, which is definitely not Freel's forte. Freel has poor bat discipline, and swings wildly at lots of pitches

Like so many others here, you have the criteria for a good lead off guy confused. He has to hit for average and as a bonus bunt well. He has to be a smart base runner (notice I said SMART). You need set up guys for your RBI guys. Nobody on base, no runs driven in. Pretty fundamental.

Oh, and not only does Freel have little "pop" in his bat, he runs the Reds out of innings too often.

Clearly Baker plays favorites, which is one of the reason he was so unpopular in Chicago his last couple years, and why I wasn't wild about the hire at all.

 
at 9:06 AM Blogger Another losing season said...

Who was the reporter who actually approached Freel?

 
at 9:51 AM Blogger Craig said...

Is there anyone, besides Baker and Krivsky, that thought signing Patterson was a good idea?

 
at 10:23 AM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

What difference does it make if his hits are bunts? A leadoff man's job is to get on base. Anybody who can hit .329 in 300+ ABs at least deserves a chance. You know this guy did hit .350 the year before in AAA.
St CSA

 
at 5:14 PM Blogger Ruben Ma-Te-O said...

CSA @ 7:36, I couldn't agree with you more. He's not an everyday plaer, and never will be for one reason: he doesn't get on base enough. He doesn't get enough singles and/or walks. Is it just me, or does Freel have a massive uppercut sometimes in his swing? I've seen it for years, and never understood why a guy with this much speed wants to try and hit the ball out of the park. He could hit .300 plus and be an everyday outfielder if he just put the bat on the ball. Willie Mcgee was what Freel should be. Willie wasn't blessed with a ton of natural ability, or good looks for that matter. Willie could hit a few homers during the course of a season, but for the most part, he used his speed and ability to get base hits to his advantage. He knew he wasn't a big power guy. He would end up with a lot of stolen bases at the end of the year, and hit over .300, and even drive in some runs, but he always scored a LOT of runs ahead of the big guys, Hendrick, Jack Clark, etc. because he knew how to get on base. Freel could be this guy, but I don't think he has the brains. He'll be dealt first-wait and see.

 
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