In today’s Dayton Daily News Hal McCoy supports Scott Miller’s opinion that the Sean Casey deal was nothing but an embarrassment for the Reds since they were not able to get anything more in return for Sean Casey than Dave Williams.

“Casey was a Reds’ franchise treasure, a fan favorite; the kind of guy an organization should make every effort to keep long term. Cincinnati has four outfielders — Ken Griffey Jr., Austin Kearns, Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena — and one of them couldn’t have been moved instead?” – Scott Miller

So has Miller not been around enough to know that baseball is a business? The Reds need pitching bad. They also need to clear salary, dealing from it’s offensive strength, to clear the payroll dollars needed ($8 – 10M) to acquire this needed pitching. So now consider the following:

Player OPS+ Est. 2006 Salary
Ken Griffey 138 12.5M
Adam Dunn 135 8M
Sean Casey 104 8.5M
Wily Mo Pena 100 1M
Austin Kearns 99 1.5M

So sentimentality aside, considering bang for the buck, which player needed to be dealt to free up the needed dollars for pitching, while having the least affect at weakening our offense.

“The fourth pitcher in the rotation of the only team that finished below Cincinnati in the NL Central last summer. The best pitcher available to the Reds. Lord, have mercy. ” – Scott Miller

Please… Yes, the Pirates finished below the Reds in the standings. Did Miller not notice though that the Pirates also finished ahead of the Reds in ERA by 0.71? Exactly 5 of the Pirates 6 starters that started at least 14 games had an ERA better than our third best starter last year, Ramon Ortiz 5.36. It’s also pertinent to note that Williams, their #4 starter, had the 2nd best ERA, 4.41, among those six starting pitchers, nearly a full half run better than their 3rd best starter. So to imply that the Reds could not improve or obtain a decent SP from the Pirates, just because they finished below the Reds in the standing is ludicrous.

“How do you explain that you’ve traded a star first baseman, a career .300 hitter, one of the most genuine human beings ever put on this earth, to a team in your own division for a young, unproven pitcher?” – Hal McCoy

He was a nice guy. But unfortunately Hal, this is a business. The Reds just traded an average 1B for an average SP with 58 starts under his belt, and freed up 6M dollars to enable the Reds to pursue another SP for their decimated starting pitching staff.

“Yes, the Reds need pitching. Good pitching. Using Miller’s words, no disrespect to Dave Williams, but the 26-year-old left-hander owns a career 17-26 record with a 4.24 earned run average. Yes, he won 10 games last season, but he also lost 11.” – Hal McCoy

I’m not sure why Hal doesn’t think a 27 year old lefty, whose already proven to be an average ML SP over a full season is not a good pitcher. Maybe he is unable to look past the 17-26 won lost record and wrap his mind around the fact that 4.24 career ERA in 58 starts is actually a tick above league average for that time period. I’m sure it would be a huge analytical reach for him to understand that the Pirates were not exactly an offensive force during that time also, ranking 13-15 in runs scored in the NL in each of those seasons. For him to take that fact and to relate it to a poor won lost record for a ML average SP over that time period, is surely a conclusion that would have been most difficult for him to grasp.

“Let’s call this what it is, a salary dump. And the Reds not only sent Casey to Pittsburgh, they sent $1 million with him. Casey will make $8.5 million and Williams will make $1.4 million. Add the $1 million the Reds sent to Pittsburgh and the Reds gained $6.1 million. For those who believe the Reds can use that $6.1 million to get additional pitching, well, it might, but not good pitching, not for $6.1 million.” – Hal McCoy

Hmmm.. Maybe Hal, just maybe there are more moves to come, which will free up additional salary and enable the Reds to get a front of the rotation starter. So basically, it’s a salary dump, but we aren’t reducing the payroll any, and the money will be re-invested in more pitching.

“Trading Casey didn’t get the Reds the pitching they needed. Not even close. It wasn’t even a good start. So far, all they’ve done is strengthen the Pittsburgh Pirates.” – Hal McCoy

Wow, that says it all. How can you argue with baseball analysis like that? Forget about that $6M and any other moves the Reds are able to make down the road because of it. The Reds got Dave Williams for Sean Casey, super nice guy, and nothing else. So it’s a terrible trade.

I’m sure that Hal will greatly miss Sean Casey, just like thousands of other Reds fans, me included. But I fear his and Miller’s perception of Casey’s worth in a trade is greatly affected by their perception of Casey as a person. It’s a shame Hal and Scott couldn’t have just wrote really neat and sappy Sean Casey is a great person and we’ll miss him pieces, instead of writing these articles which demonstrates their complete inability for baseball analysis.

Later,
Tom

Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. Those guys are thick. I wonder if they’ve seen a doctor about these dizzy spells?

  2. Good Stuf Tom, to add.
    Judging from e-mails, if the hundreds who say they won’t go to a Reds game next season because Casey was traded really mean it, the club will lose some hefty revenue.

    Money is made by fringe fans and fringe fans are aquired by winning. Something the Reds forgot how to do. 300 K less fans this season than the prior season, and 2004 showed less fans than 2003 as well.

    If “hundreds” don’t show because of Casey’s departure then you’d have to assume that “thousands” won’t show because of the team they built and the recent putrid seasons they’ve forced the locals to endure.

    That’s “hefty” revenue, not “hundreds” of tickets.

    Hal is the Reds version of Plato, creating myths from the mount…. toga askew.

    Reds fans don’t pay to see losers, even if they like the players.

    http://redlegnation.com/2005/05/17/take-me-out-to-the-ballgame-a-brief-history-of-the-reds-attendance/

  3. Great post, Tom. Miller and McCoy demonstrate how lazy and unanalytical the mainstream media can be. McCoy was surely biased by losing a player who was always willing to talk and made “great print.” As for Miller, he’s just an idiot.

  4. Casey’s value has actually been burried by his personality. People see his smile and think that is what we’re all going to miss. Articles like this one from Hal don’t help matters, but I’m still disappointed that many don’t see Casey’s value.

    First of all, I agree that he should have been traded. $8.5 million is far too much for what asey bings to the table. But from what I’ve been reading at this site and other blogs, most of you don’t believe Sean was worth $3 million. In fact, most of you seem to think Casey was killing the team because he wasn’t hitting 35 dingers like a first baseman is supposed to do. That’s just silly.

    But since he was making $8.5 million, he had to be traded. I was prepared to just deal with the black hole his absence will leave in the lineup because he would bring a plus pitcher or at least a propsect who has the potential to be a plus pitcher. But instead, DanO showed no guts and got a pitcher who has no chance of being better than mediocre.

    Okay, so you think there are more moves on the way where DanO will use the $5 million saved (after paying Williams and Womack)? I wish it were true. My faith has run out.

  5. I think you guys need to lay off Hal a bit. He may write a few things that you disagree with, but overall he has a very astute baseball mind … both with regards to personnel and the biz side.

    The guy has a proven track record as the best Reds beat writer (although I do like Marc Lancaster a lot) and what he has done the past few years with his eyesight failing is remarkable.

  6. Casey’s pic on the Reds site graphic has been replaced by Felipe Lopez.

  7. I LOVE Hal McCoy as a person. He is EXACTLY the kind of guy I could drink a beer with (or go to Mass with depending on the day). I have emailed with Hal a lot over the past few years, and many of the strings have ended in a heated “jerk” from one or both of us.

    HOWEVER I have to agree with that the bulk of this column is clouded by Hal and Casey’s friendship. I can certainly understand why, its just not very professional.

    If I was looking for someone to mentor my kids I would probably choose Sean Casey, but if I am looking for a really good 1B, I am going elsewhere.

    He has the most hollow .300 batting average in the history of 1B.

  8. John Fay gets it. Told a nice short heart warming story, and then said, “But that said, it was a trade I’d make.”.

    Oh, by the way. Ken Rosenthal on Fox Sports dropped the following:

    Free-agent right-hander Matt Morris has narrowed his choice to two teams. One is the Giants, a team that has pursued him aggressively from the moment the bidding started. The other is believed to be the Reds, a late and surprising entry in the process.

    Morris, 31, could make his decision as early as Sunday, and is likely to receive a three-year deal worth in the $25 million range. He will not return to the Cardinals, whose offer was not competitive with those of the other bidders. The Reds’ interest has been spurred by their new ownership group, which is awaiting the approval of Major League Baseball. The group includes three minority owners of the Cardinals, Morris’ team since 1997.

    So it is looking a whole lot like this deal is going to turn into Casey for Williams (our #3 SP) and 3/4 of our #1 SP.

    Lancaster is currently the best Reds beat writer hands down, Fay running second with Hal lagging far behind. The crusty old HOF could learn a thing or two from Lancaster and Fay.

    Later,
    Tom

  9. Wow. It boggles the mind. I respect Hal’s tenure and his history with the game, but that column was awful. He wants to replace production with myth–a common problem among old-time sportswriters.

    Let me ask you this. Williams had an ERA somwhere around the league average–I don’t care if he was Pitt’s #4 starter. If the Reds had just AVERAGE pitching last year, what would their record have been.

    Everyone is focusing on getting a stud–and if we get it, that would be great. But a league average ERA and we’re in the hunt.

  10. I did the math back in August right here on RedlegNation.

    Later,
    Tom

  11. Great post, Tom. If the Reds blogosphere does nothing else, we should hold them accountable for absurd articles such as this one.

  12. Add Bob Nighengale to the list:

    The Ugly

    The Reds: It’s so bad in Cincinnati these days that even the Pirates can afford players the Reds can’t keep. The Reds dumped popular first baseman Sean Casey and his $8.5 million salary on Pittsburgh.

    What’s ugly, is Nightengale’s grasp of the situation. He fits in right with the other geniuses, Miller and McCoy.

    Yes, the Reds dumped Casey’s salary, but not to decrease the payroll budget. They dumped his salary in order to reinvest it into the salary of a yet to be named pitcher. There is a big difference here, and none of these writers are able to grasp the concept.

    Later,
    Tom

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