Thursday, December 26, 2013

Help Wanted and Other Hot Stove Stuff

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

Leading off I’d like to thank my kids for the wonderful Christmas gift I received, a Kindle Fire HD, it’s groovy, uh, rad, how about totally awesome! (Do kids say that today? I really have no clue.)

HELP WANTED (2 Positions): 1) a centerfielder with blazing speed, can catch anything that comes his way EXCEPT a cold, must possess an ability to hit lead-off, have tremendous patience at the plate, hit for a high average, while proficient in scoring runs.

2) An individual who can hit fourth in a batting order. Must possess the ability to make serious contact with a pitched ball, and not strike out with two runners on base. (Adam Dunn need not apply.)

Qualified candidates please send resume and salary requirements to the following address, Great American Ball Park, 100 Main St. Cincinnati, OH 45202, Attention – Mr. Jocketty. Serious inquiries only.

Now that Shin-Soo Choo has departed for Texas, what’s next? It looks like the Reds will be heading to Spring Training in a couple of months with an unproven rookie to handle the centerfield position, and hit lead-off. Not a knock to Billy Hamilton, he brought an excitement that Reds Nation hadn’t seen for a while, but as a grizzled 45 year Reds fan, I would like to see him get a bit more seasoning in Triple A. His slash line at Triple A Louisville last season was .256/.308/.343 which is not leadoff hitter material. Sure he stole 75 bases for Louisville and 13 for Cincinnati, but like I alluded to a couple of weeks ago, you can’t steal first base.

I’ve been reading some rumbles on this and other blogs that Reds fans are disappointed with the lack of activity this offseason. Let me be the voice of reason, Walt Jocketty knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s built franchises before and he understands what it takes to make a winning organization, so let him do it. I really think they’ll be a couple of trades between now and Opening Day on March 31.

Buzz Killer Statement; the Reds have never made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. Four times Cincinnati has made the post season in back to back seasons, 1939 - 1940, 1972 - 1973, 1975 - 1976, and 2012 - 2013.

I really don’t believe the Reds will re-sign Bronson Arroyo, as it looks this day after Christmas, nobody else seems interested either. That’s shocking to me. Arroyo is a rubber armed junk ball pitcher who’ll eat innings, plus he has pennant race and post season experience, something that will help a young pitching staff. If he does not sign with anyone, I’d love to see Arroyo become a bullpen coach for Cincinnati.

Useless Trivia; Bronson Arroyo has a World Series ring, pitching for the curse breaking Boston Red Sox in 2004. Arroyo pitched from the bullpen in two World Series games against the St. Louis Cardinals, game 1 and the clincher in game 4.

I read where former Cincinnati and Washington GM Jim “Leatherpants” Bowden thinks the Reds need to trade Homer Bailey. While I would rather hear our family dog, Brownie, explain Quantum Physics than any opinion Bowden has, he occasionally makes a point. Trading Bailey makes sense; move him before you lose him to free agency after next season. With the amount of dough the Reds have locked up in long term contracts (see Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, & Brandon Phillips) I really don’t think that Cincinnati can afford the money that Homer Bailey may demand after next season. No matter how you look at it, he owns two no hitters, and he will expect to get paid for it. Don’t look for a home team discount either. What I see happening is this, should Cincinnati be hopelessly out of playoff contention by next season’s trade deadline, Bailey along with a few other teammates may be applying their craft in other cities.

More Useless Trivia; why am I so harsh on Jim Bowden? Remember the July 2006 trade that sent Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to Washington? Bowden was GM of the Nationals at that time. The Reds got pitcher Bill Bray and infielder Royce Clayton who did a decent job for the Reds. Through deception, Cincinnati also received an injured Gary Majewski which ticked me off. Bowden purposely failed to mention to Reds management that Majewski took cortisone shots for arm pain. The Reds filed a grievance with Major League Baseball alleging misconduct by Bowden and the Nationals. MLB has not revealed their findings and probably never will. Plus, I’m still hacked off for his firing of Tony Perez forty four games into the 1993 season. For more information please ask Marty Brennaman.

Have a blessed week.

Dan Howard

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