Posted on: August 2, 2008 3:55 pm

The "Terrible Trade" that turned out pretty good

I was on vacation when it happened. Got the newspaper in the morning, turned to the MLB section to see how the Reds did last night, and there it was: Reds trade Lopez, Kearns and Wagner for relief pitchers. I couldn't believe it. We had traded last year's only all-star, one of our young and talented outfielders that, unlike some of the others, actually could field (yeah, I'm looking at you two, Dunn and Wily Mo), and a former #1 draft pick pitcher for two relief pitchers (Bray and Majewski) , an old shortstop (Royce Clayton), a pitching prospect (Daryl Thompson) and some minor leaguer (Brendan Harris, he got traded to the Rays but is currently with the Twins. If you care, which i kinda hope you don't.). Clayton turned out to be as bad of a fielder as Lopez, Bray was injured so he could never pitch, and Majewski turned out to be damaged property that the Nationals had no intention of repairing. I was furious. How could we pull off yet ANOTHER stupid trade like this? Or so most of Cincy thought. But I remember one smart journalist saying to not judge the trade until two years from now. Only then could we see if it was worth it. Well, its been two years, and as I look back on the trade at the players still with the Nationals or Reds...

  • Lopez has just been released by the Nationals. Considering how many really bad former Reds are with that team (Jim Bowden included), he must have been doing REALLY bad to get the boot. I guess a .230 average, losing your home run power amd never improving your fielding will do that to you.
  • Kearns is batting .213 with only 5 homers and 27 RBI along with a slew of injury problems.
  • Wagner is coming off of sugery, has yet to pitch this year, and even when healthy has trouble staying in the majors as a clean-up pitcher.
  • Bray has a 2.62 ERA with a strikeout-walk ratio of better than 2-1. He's being talked about as a future closer.
  • Majewski (although only in 19 games) has a 3.47 ERA with a 2-1 strikeout-walk ratio at the major league level despite bouncing around a bit with AAA.
  • Thompson hasn't hit the majors permanently, but he showed some good things in his few starts and is considered one of our top pitching prospects not yet in the big leagues yet.

That looks to me as if all the current Reds are succeeding and the former Reds are not. Almost everyone ripped that trade at the time, and for the few months afterwards. But finally now, as some wise, unremembered journalist (sorry, whoever you are) told me, we can see the true value of that trade. Not too shabby, to say the least.

Posted on: July 31, 2008 5:23 pm

State of the Outfield: Bruce and some ideas

The past few years, the Reds were absolutely STACKED in the outfield. We couldn't get rid of them fast enough. Wily Mo, Hopper, Freel, Dunn, Griffey, Chris Denorfia, Kearns, Hamilton, Hairston, Bruce coming down the chute, and those are just the good ones. If only we could get some pitching, our team would be great. Now, we've got the pitching coming around, and the outfield consists of...Dunn, Bruce, Hairston, Patterson. Woah. Now, consider that Patterson's average is worse than several pitchers, Dunn (at least common sense would sya so) won't be a Red next season and Hairston has a lifetime .260 average, and we look screwed out there. So what do we do? Hopper and Freel will PROBABLY be back next season, but Freel has never been good as a starter and Hopper isn't proven. Drew Stubbs could be good, but he's still at High A, and if Bruce is any indication we aren't going to let that kid play in the majors till he's batting .600. I still say that we trade/sign Alex Rios, although I don't know if we'll be able to But here's one interesting suggestion I heard a little while back that we CAN do. Move Votto, who has played outfield before in high school and possibly in the early minors, to left field and move Edwin to first. Votto has always been noted as a good athelete with an above avearge arm for a first basemen. Dunn was NOT noted for his athleticism or his arm, and he played left for us for several years. Even at worst, Votto can cover more ground than Dunn could out there. The move for Edwin to first also eliminates Edwin having to THROW to first, which is where almost all of his errors come from. This will allow Edwin to give up the attempt to shore up his arm and just focus on what he's still on the team for: his hitting. Of course, now we'd need a new infielder, but we have more of those internally, and this solution also improves the fielding. If Dunn stays, we woulnd't do this move, but we'd also be less desperate for an outfielder. Maybe its too radical for some, but I think that the pieces are falling in place for it to be given a shot.

Posted on: July 31, 2008 5:00 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2008 3:18 pm

And replacing Griffey, here comes.....oh S#@%....

First of all, I am a supporter of trading Griffey. He was going to leave after this season anyway, and at least we got something for him, even if we still do have to cover his contract (which i still don't get, but then again I've never understood the business of baseball). This trade will be the right thing...probably.  But looking at it right now, this hurts. Who's playing for Griffey now? Hopper and Freel are both probably done for the year. Hairston's on the DL. Which means that the frontrunner for the spot is, our buddy, Corey I-have-a-worse-average-than-half-th
e-pitching-staff Patterson. That's just great. We just gave Dusty a legitimate reason to play that guy (okay, legitimately he should be in Seattle's rookie league or something, but let's face it; we all know he's not leaving this season.) Of course, Hairston should return soon, but is he really a long-term outfield fix? I'm not entirely convinced this isn't just his career year and he doesn't return to being a below average player after this year (.260 career average and only one other season batting over .270). And according to popular belief, Dunn is also done in Cincy after this year. That leaves us with only one sure thing in the outfield. As far as I know, we don't have any other real prospect outfielders to bring up (Stubbs would be the closest and he's only at High A). Sure, after this season we'll be okay not having Griffey....I think (see my next entry for thoughts on that). But for right now....well, lets just hope Patterson breaks his leg or something. It would be too much to ask for one of our BAD players to get hurt, wouldn't it?

EDIT: Thank god Hairston was able to return immediately. The thought of Patterson getting regular playing time gives me nightmares. Regardless, I still don't think Hairston is the long term fix.

Posted on: May 30, 2008 10:44 am
Edited on: May 30, 2008 10:47 am

THANK GOD! Bruce is here!

Dear God, they FINALLY did it. The Reds made, dare I say it...a smart move. While I question the removal of Hatteberg (guy bats around .290 for his career, great glove and is left-handed. If anything else, he'd be good trade material late in the season. Heck, Jeff Conine got a good deal last year, and he bats .260), we did what mattered, which is get Bruce the heck up to the majors. And how does he respond? Six straight appearences on base. Only one player has ever gotten more to start off their career. Ever. No, he won't keep this up all season, but he can be at least as productive as Patterson is. 0-8 in a game where your team gets more than 20 hits?!? That's a DOUBLE golden sombraro, ladies and gentlemen. The average monkey can do better than that. Certainly the #1 prospect in America can. Even if he does go 0-8, at least he'd be learning against valid competition. The way he was playing in the minors, you'd think he was Jesus reincarnated into a inhuman-slugging-percentage-batting
form. There is a reason we were willing to let go of Hamilton. The loss of a superstar centerfielder is okay when you have another coming down the pipeline. And now he's finally proving it. He won't make the all-star game, or challenge the Triple Crown. At least not this year. But a year or two from now...well, lets just say I don't think Josh Hamilton will be remembered much.
Posted on: May 16, 2008 2:29 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2008 2:30 pm

Edwin in the 3 hole? Crazy, but why not?

This idea is a little risky for some, and practically blasphemy for others. Batting Edwin Encarnacion, the essence of inconsistancy, third instead of Griffey, he of the 597 home runs. But if you look past first impressions, there are some interesting stats that support it. Check out these stats from Edwin's first two full years in the majors, 2006 and 2007 (2006 first/2007 second)

  1. Normal average: .276/.289
  2. Bases empty: .230/.258
  3. With Runners on: .325/.325
  4. RISP: .306/.360
  5. Base Loaded: .467/.471

Thats a MAJOR difference when Edwin's in an RBI situation, its consistantly been that way over two seasons, and his stats improved the next year. Hitting well with RISP should be the #1 thing for a 3-hole hitter, and Edwin does it better than most. It also allows you to get the most out of a player. If these stats stay true, giving Edwin more RBI situations and less bases-empty ones would raise his average, maximizing his value for our team. Now look at Griffey's same stats over the past 3 seasons.

  1. Normal average: .277/.252/.301
  2. Bases empty: .276/.266/.302
  3. With Runners on: .278/.235/.300
  4. RISP: .244/.216/.263
  5. Bases Loaded: .300/.333/.375

His average actually has gone DOWN at least 30 points with RISP every season, and only with the bases loaded does his average consistantly jump. Again, if these stats hold true, giving Griffey less RBI situations shouldn't hurt his average at all, and POSSIBLY help it. Baseball is all about getting the most out of what you have, and all the stats say that moving Edwin to the 3-hole and dropping Griffey down a bit would make a big improvement to the Reds.

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