From John Fay and the Enquirer:

Reds manager Jerry Narron’s sessions with Josh Hamilton have gone well enough that Narron is convinced that Hamilton will have an impact on the Reds this season.

“It might not happen early,” Narron said. “But, at some point, he’s going to play well for us.”

“At some point, he’s going to play well for us”….does that really mean anything? Would one hit in a PH appearance make this a true statement? Am I the only one that gets tired of hearing players, coaches, management, announcers make statements that don’t mean anything? It’s like they’ve all gone to the “Crash Davis School of Cliches”.

“What I’m going to do is get him as many at-bats as I can at spring training,” Narron said. “I told him to be ready to play every day. We’ll try to get him 80 to 100 at-bats.”

That’s all well and good, but assuming you don’t have SS games ever day, that means there are going to be other players that don’t get their fair share of ABs, so the Reds can protect their $50,000 investment. Someone’s not going to get the ABs they possibly deserve, if Narron holds to this plan.

I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Join the conversation! 16 Comments

  1. Really? We’re going to start worrying about other players getting enough spring-training at-bats?

    Firstly, I would think Griffey won’t be playing too much, after maybe a taste of right field; and hopefully Freel will be kept on a short leash since he just doesn’t know when to let up. So there’s a good chunk of OF time opened up for Hamilton right there. There’s also the DH available in spring training.

    Spring training is normally for the top-level guys to get their timing down, for rotation fixtures to warm up their arms, for a select few position battles to play themselves out, and for AA and AAA guys to get limited exposure to the big-time. Hamilton is a big exception, however – if there is any chance for him to get back to pro-level production, he needs a ton of work. As the 25th man during the season, he’s not going to get that work from May-September. So I applaud Narron’s recognition of the reality on the ground, so to speak, and committing to giving him everyday ABs in Florida.

  2. Absolutely correct, Devils Advocate.

    Those who think Hamilton is a pet project and getting favored status by the manager are shortsighted in the assessment. First, the manager and the player have a prior relationship and they live close to each other. So there’s nothing wrong with the workouts and early evaluations.

    Secondly, and most of all, what the Reds need to discover in the spring is if Hamilton’s skills have eroded to the point that he’s no longer a prospect. If they see he’s just suffering from rust and they can carry him on the 25-man until they can send him to the minors for full-time play in 2008, we’re talking about the potential of a great, great player.

    However, if they give him, say, 100 ABs in Florida and they see he’s not recoverable, then they haven’t lost a thing and the Dwayne Wises, Bubba Crosbys, Chris Denorfias and blah-blah can just cry in their beer until next year.

    Besides, it’s the GM and manager who say how many ABs a player deserves, not the player, and not bloggers. I enjoy my share of Narron bashing, but this issue of Hamilton is off base by a country mile.

    Mark it down: Hamilton is making the 25-man unless they see his skills are gone. His stats won’t be the overriding factor; his core abilities–bat speed, legs, defense–are what they will judge.

  3. I rather agree with you, DA. How much Spring Training time is Jr or Dunn going to really play anyway? I keep hearing about aging vets like Conine and Bellhorn being given opportunities at the expense of young guys; well, here’s an opportunity to change that a little. Yes, Hamilton is probably getting more assistance now due to his proximity to Narron. But name me one major sport where the same thing doesn’t happen. Lots and lots of athletes are given looks that might not otherwise receive the same amount of attention because of who they know or who they are related to (see Rose, Pete Jr). It’s just the way it is. I think this is good for Hamilton and the organization. It’s probably more beneficial receiving instruction directly from your new boss than it is in some Latin league from a guy you won’t see again until December. Lots of people get rotated in and out of Spring Training games. Everyone should get their opportunities. To me this makes sense, especially when comparing it to signing 40+ year olds and three catchers.

  4. He really has to get those ABs. If he doesn’t, the Reds will lose him – no sense in sitting him on the bench ala Wily Mo.

    Perhaps a miracle will happen and something will click.

  5. Good point – I didn’t even consider that the spring training exposure Hamilton gets, will be used to properly evaluate his status and potential. If he’s eroded beyond repair, that should be discovered in the spring rather than two months into the season.

    I think he’s a fascinating pickup and just as a fan, I’m curious and eager to find out if this person can pick up the pieces of his life, banish his personal demons on a permanent basis, and make something of himself in this great game.

    I think this article just hit Bill the wrong way, starting off with the meaningless cliché drivel as it did.

  6. Maybe that’s what it was…I went back and looked at ST stats from last year and my guess is, as you say, the guys that lose ABs will be marginal players. At least I hope so….AAAA players that wouldn’t help the team much anyway.

    I think, baring total failure in ST or another drug problem, he makes this team.

  7. This from C. Trent Rosecrans (the New Guy)’s Cincinnati Post blog:
    “It’s been a lot of fun watching him,” Narron said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got great bat speed. The one thing that’s really hurt him is he hasn’t played the last couple of years. It’s going to be a huge adjustment for him and hopefully he makes our ballclub.”

    Narron said his plan is to play Hamilton nearly every day and get him about 80-100 at-bats in the spring, no matter how he does. He’ll also play him in all three outfield positions.

    “There are very few players in the major leagues with the kind of talent he has,” Narron said. “But when you haven’t played above (Class) A ball, it’s a huge challenge for him.”
    Those quotes really put this in perspective much better than the Enquirer’s Reds beat article. I like what Narron is saying here much better.

  8. I personally don’t see Denorfia being here after ST. I’ve seen his name all over the rumor pages especially with the Marlins showing interest. So, I don’t think he will figure into the equation but who knows.

  9. I would hope we trade Denorfia with a pitcher for an upgrade in the outfield.

    As for Hamilton, notice that Narron said he doesnt expect Hamilton to help us out much till later in the year. Is there a way to keep him DL’d and rehabbing in Sarasota for a lengthy period of time?

  10. Is there a way to keep him DL’d and rehabbing in Sarasota for a lengthy period of time?

    Yeah, you play him everyday in spring training and hope he strains a hammy on March 31st so you can put him on the DL for a while and then send him down to the minors for as long as possible on a rehab assignment. 🙂

  11. Narron is so weird about who he decides to love and hate. I’m convinced the only reason why he’s so hot for Hamilton is b/c he’s from North Carolina.

  12. I agree that Narron has a man-crush on Hamilton, and it’s pretty sill and a little sad. BUT, this is by far the appropriate treatment for a talent of Hamilton’s caliber. If they’re going to take a chance on a guy like that, you should be giving him all the ABs possible, before you make the decision on the roster spot. He ought to get a lot more attention and playing time than the likes of Norris Hopper, Dwayne Wise (is he even still here), or Bubba Crosby.

  13. How can a Reds fan NOT want to see what he can do. He’s well worth the 50K investment and anyone that follows baseball should know that when he was drafted he was a “can’t miss” guy before drugs took over.

    Now, not every can’t miss calibre guy pans out, but the skills were evidently there and if the Reds can get even 75% of what his potential was, he will be a great asset.

    And as far as keeping him on the roster…well, if he shows a hint of ability, is he that much of a downgrade from Dewayne Wise or others in the 25th spot? My God, Todd Hollandsworth was on our roster last year! Why not just get someone off the bus? I say keep Hamilton.

  14. You know, with the way this team is right now, a .500 season for this Reds club would be a major feat. If he shows in spring training that the talent is still there and he just needs playing time, why make him the starter this year and give him on the job training in the big leagues? Invest the ABs this season, when we will likely be a sub .500 team anyway so Hamilton can get the ABs he needs a be big asset for us in the years to come.

  15. Tom:

    I agree 100%. If he has a decent Spring, let the kid have some AB’s and see if he can be part of the future. Being around guys like JR and Conine can only be a help if he is up to the challenge. The caveat of course is what he does in Florida this spring. If he shows any of the flashes of potential we have heard about, he is worth a roster spot; not just for this season but as a glimpse into next year.

  16. Agreed with all of the comments on Hamilton below. As far as I’m concerned, let him be this year’s Wily Mo. Give him a boatload of at-bats in Spring, and if he shows anything, stash him on the bench as the 25th guy. We’ll pinch-hit a couple times a week, and we can hang on to him and put him in the minors next year.

    That’s easily a better use for the 25th spot on the roster than a 3rd catcher.

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About Bill Lack

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.


2007 Reds, Reds - General