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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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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Long-term look

I just got finished writing my Sunday Insider for the paper. I know a lot of you want Walt Jocketty to turn the roster over. You want people released. You want trades.

But making moves right now is the baseball equivalent of re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. If Junior Griffey, Adam Dunn and Brandon Phillips don't hit, this season is lost. Period. They will hit. It has to be soon to save this season.

However, that's not what I see as the fundamental problem with this team. Friday night, the Braves ran out a lineup with six home-grown players. The Reds had two -- Dunn and Joey Votto.

For the Reds to compete long term, they're going to have to be a lot more like the Braves as far as drafting and development. In the 2002, the Braves picked Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann in the Rounds 1 and 2. The Reds, picking 20 picks, earlier picked Chris Gruler and Votto. Votto was a nice pick but I'd take Francoeur McCann over him. And Gruler? Well, you get the picture.

The Braves players come to the big leagues playing the Atlanta way. The Reds current starting eight came up in six different organizations. No telling what way they might play.


at 3:49 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

I think we all agree John..yet none of us want to see this garbage everyday for another 3 or 4 years

Please don"t tell us Griffey and others will soon start hitting and our problems will be solved. has not helped in 7 years.. Of course..by the time he starts hitting Griffey will get his annual season ending injury

I agree with what you said,,but also must add that players like Griffey and Dunn add a certain malaise to this team and we should grow without them

at 4:01 PM OpenID cecilburrito said...

John I think my question is better suited for this posting:

Of our well-performing prospects, who would be your 5 most likely to get a major league call up the soonest? (Club needs aside)

at 4:04 PM Blogger Zach in MO said...

Couldn't agree more!! Reds fans (& our owner) need to realize that we should be modeling our franchise after the A's, Twins, Braves & recently, the Brewers. I think Wayne put us in position to be like that. By June we will most likely have 1 more homegrown player in the outfield, Bruce.
As John posted earlier this week, our minor league org. is 4th in overall win percentage this year. I wonder if the Twins & Braves are not on the list because they recently plugged in some of their young guns to replace other players.
Be patient, Cincy fans! Griffey & Phillips will come around. And this year our pitching has looked good.
I listed to the Cardinals local broadcast during the last series. For the 1st time since 2000, when I moved here, Cardinals broadcasters were scared of us! John Rooney, one of the Cardinal's broadcasters said that in the past 3 years he never felt they were out of a game against the Reds unless Harang was pitching but said that this year the team has the pitching to compete very soon, if not this year. Other teams & prognosticators recognize that we have some talent (SI picked the Reds 2nd in the division). Have faith, we will come around!

at 4:21 PM Blogger HoosierVirg said...

I so agree with what you say John, as frustrated as we are as fans what you see is what you get. To me the lack of offense this year so far just shows how important Junior, Dunner, and BP have been offensively the last few years. Notice I said offensively, not defensively or as team leaders. Now all three are not hitting up to par so we basically have no offense, hard to imagine at the beginning of the year that all three would slump at the same time. IF you are going to build a team from within the organization it takes patience and time, if Mr. C doesn't have that kind of patience then he needs to sell the team to someone who does. Yes, I lost a lot of respect for him when he fired Mr. K. Oh well, will be over Wednesday to see Voltron pitch for the first time this year.

at 4:22 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Closest to the majors and best aren't always the same. This lists combines best and closest:

1. Jay Bruce
2. Homer Bailey
3. Daryl Thompson
4. Josh Roenicke
5. Chris Valaika/Todd Frazier

at 4:31 PM OpenID cecilburrito said...

Thanks John! As much as I love hearing how Jorge Cantu did aganist the Royals last night, this is the kind of insight that keeps me reading the blog!

at 4:43 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

I think the importance of both Griffeys and Dunns offensive contribution is reflected in the record of this team the past seven years..

at 4:45 PM Blogger gannfan said...

I agree that the Reds have to improve their ability to draft and develop talent...it's been pointed out numerous times.

If I recall, the Reds have drafted and developed one successful starting pitcher in the last 25 years...Tom Browning.

Excellent article on ESPN.com about how teams have failed. Reds narrowly missed inclusion.


Interesting about how the Pirates have failed miserably at drafting talent even with picking at or near the top of the draft every year for 15 years.

My question is...how are the Reds going to build for the future when the team owner seems impatient and wants to win now?

at 4:46 PM Blogger Zach in MO said...

Off topic - Just watching Kyle Lohse give up 6 runs in the top of the 4th. Welcome back, Kyle! Cardinal's fans have been wondering why we let him go all month long.

Also, John, What was the name of the cather the Reds drafted last year? Were is he & how far along is he? Is he showing any promise?

at 4:58 PM Blogger kingseyeland said...

John, you're correct about Atlanta players playing the Atlanta way. You could say the same about the D'Backs and A's. You can see solid teams, year after year.

But what exactly is the "Reds way"? With only two home-grown players in the lineup, it's hard telling. I look at players like Adam Dunn or Austin Kearns and hope I don't see the Reds way...overweight, underachieving, fundamental mistakes...

Right now Atlanta is sub-.500, just like the Reds. But something tells me one of these teams will turn things around pronto, and it's not who we'd prefer.

at 4:59 PM Blogger John Fay said...

Also you've got to do is ask Zach:

Catcher Devon Mesoraco, last year’s top pick, has spent the early part of the season at extended spring.

“He’s been good,” player development director Terry Reynolds said. “He’s hitting, hitting with power. His catching’s getting better. He’s doing all the things we expected him to.”

Mesoraco will be assigned to either Single-A Dayton or Rookie Billings.

at 5:03 PM Blogger Mark T said...

But a look backward tells us that the nucleus of Griffey, Phillips and Dunn has not won in the past. Change is in order based on the last four years.

at 6:52 PM Blogger firefly118 said...

John, you couldn't be more right. A real manager, a team leader would have them playing his way, no matter where they come from. I think the real problem is two fold, change and control.

Change: Moving players no matter who they are. Changing your philosophy to compete in todays MLB. You can't count on a homerun to give you 3 or 4 runs every game and expect to have a winning record. I would rather have guys who hit around .300 and get on base and NEVER hit a HR than what we have. I also don't care who you are, how many HR you hit, or where you bat in the line up, If there is no body at 3B bunt or slap the ball down that way and take a single. CHANGE....gettem on....gettem over....gettem in.

Control: Control the way the game goes by calling time. Control the defense against you by bunting and hit and run. Control your own players approach to hitting by actually instructing them to do the little things, like shortening your swing with 2 strikes.

at 7:39 PM Blogger Chris at Redleg Nation said...

Francoeur is as overrated as they come. You take him, I'll take Votto (who I still don't love, and let's check back in 10 years.

at 9:58 PM Blogger Hugh D. Pohl said...

C'mon Jack! Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe Morgan would not have won the past 7 years with the pitching the Reds had. Your arguments are so tired and boring.

at 10:32 PM Blogger rrlcommish said...

While I agree with John that the Reds need to develop more home grown talent, that is not the only reason the Reds can't win. The other equally important reason is...they are just not very good judges of talent. The guys we pick up off the free agent market and in trades are by and large atrocious. If Reds management could do a better job of evaluating the talent outside of the organization, and get guys in here to compliment the talent we have, there is no reason this organization cannot win. There have been a few home runs (Brandon Phillips being one) but by and large they have done a lousy job. How did anyone in their right mind think that Josh Fogg would be a good addition to this staff, for example?

at 12:08 AM Blogger robby said...

Agree wholeheartedly with the premis that home grown talent is the way to go. Unfortunately that approach seems foreign to Castellini and going with Jockety as GM may mean a move to unloading young talent to acquire proven big league talent. That was certainly his approach in St. Louis.

I appreciate the point, but no one really thinks this team would lose 8 years in a row with Ruth, Gehrig and Morgan on the team.

The pitching has been awful, but want most fans fail to see is that the starting eight has also been lousy. Defense has been horrible, base running poor, situational hitting non-existent and team attitude pathetic.

If one disagrees with that assesment explain why this year's team with respectable pitching continues to lose on a regular basis.

What Bob Castellini should have done when he bought the team was sit down with his brain trust, establish a plan for building an organization that would re-establish a solid player development system and return the Reds to respectability for the long term. There are no quick fixes for what ails this organization. If and when it gets blown up please don't trade what little major league ready talent there is for more over the hill has beens.

at 1:22 PM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

reds are getting pitching in 2008..what is their record?

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