Thursday, January 30, 2014

Some hot stove notes from my igloo

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

You know, the Eskimos are right, igloos are quite cozy.

No matter how loud you say it, yelling “mush” at a frozen car will not make it start, I know, I tried it. Thank God for jumper cables.

Rubbing two sticks together will start a fire, as long as one is a match.

Rumor has it that Santa Claus is moving his operations to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Why shouldn’t he, Michigan has been getting gifts from sports referees for years.

ESPN’s Mike Golic made a profound statement on his radio show the other day. Golic said if your town’s high temperature is two below zero, that’s not a high temperature.

I saw last week that Cincinnati has signed Hernan Iribarren to a minor league deal. The 29 year old hasn’t played in the majors since 2009 with Milwaukee. Iribarren’s Triple A slash line looks impressive, .312/.367/.407 in 286 plate appearances. Do you think a Brandon Phillips trade may be in the works?

Another comment on a potential Phillips trade, the Reds signed former Tigers infielder Ramon Santiago to a minor league deal. Ask yourself this, with all the “bargain basement” infielders Cincinnati’s has signed, Skip Schumaker, Hernan Iribarren, Jack Hannahan, Chris Nelson, and now Santiago, what are the Reds going to do with all those infielders?

Speaking of trades, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote that Cincinnati should consider trading Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, or Homer Bailey. With Bailey entering free agency after next season and the Reds holding a $10 MM option on Johnny Cueto for 2015, the common sense approach would be trading either one of those two, or both. Trading Cueto would free up some much needed cash for Cincinnati but the opposite end of the deal is Cueto had an injury prone 2013 season so I doubt the Reds would get much more than a top prospect.

Bailey, on the other hand, may make the more interesting deal. Despite the talking heads that consistently mention Bailey’s inconsistency, he does own two no-hitters and will expect to get handsomely paid for it. I seriously doubt the Reds will have enough money to pay Bailey’s demands. Trade him while you can get someone for him.

In my humble opinion, if the Reds are hopelessly out of the pennant race by the July 31 trade deadline, I believe the team will look quite different on August 1.

Useless Trivia; Bailey, Detroit’s Justin Verlander, and Toronto’s Mark Buehrle are the only current major leaguer’s who’ve thrown multiple no-hitters. Verlander’s no-hitter was on June 12, 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers, and May 7, 2011 versus the Toronto Blue Jays. Buehrle’s pitched a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on April 18, 2007. Two seasons later he threw a perfect game facing the Tampa Bay Rays on July 23, 2009. Both of Buehrle’s gems came while he pitched for the Chicago White Sox.

I’m glad the Reds re-signed Sam LeCure. I really think he has a closer mentality and a devastating backdoor cutter to match.

Have you seen the Blue Emu commercial with Johnny Bench? It’s hard to believe he’s 66 years old now. I idolized Bench as a child as did most youngsters in my area. I remember one of my first little league practices, I thought I’d put on the “tools of ignorance” and try my hand at catching. “Hey, I’ve watched Johnny Bench do this many times on television,” I thought squatting behind the plate, “He makes it look so easy.” After taking a few balls off various regions of the body, including a very sensitive one, along with nearly getting cracked in the head with a bat a couple of times, I decided that centerfield was the perfect location for me. I never tried catching again in the years I played baseball.

In closing, what’s all the fuss about a Super Bowl in a cold climate? Haven’t the Canadians held their football league’s Grey Cup Championship in the November cold for several years now. Former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant insisted on keeping the locker room doors opened at old Metropolitan Stadium in December to get his team immune to the cold. Maybe if the Vikings played a cold weather Super Bowl, they would have won a couple of championships instead of losing the four they’ve been to. Have we Americans gotten soft to cold weather?

For what it’s worth, I predict Peyton will tie his kid brother Eli for Super Bowl titles at two; Denver 31 Seattle 21.

Have a blessed week.

Dan Howard

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