I was pretty excited last September when for a few games the Reds moved Brandon Phillips back to SS. It turned out to be a short lived experiment at the time, due to both a hand injury that Phillips was battling and the fact that Cardinals nosedived back to the pack and made the Reds feel like they might have half a shot at making the playoffs still.

I still saw the move as an excellent sign, that the slick fielding middle infielder we picked up early in the season, who seemed to have blossomed offensively, would be able to fill the glaring hole we had at SS, and by all indications, be a well-above-average bat for the position. As we went into the winter there were still hints of talk that Phillips could be moved over to SS for the upcoming 2007 season. That made great sense, since we had Ryan Freel readily available to back fill that spot, and if they decided to go another direction, 2B are cheaper and more readily available. (I won’t bring up Brendan Harris at this juncture, because I don’t wish to rehash “The Trade” here. 🙂 ) Then the Reds made their big off-season free agent signing, inking Alex Gonzalez to play SS for three years for $14M.

Ok, fine, I figure: here comes the big pitching- and defense-minded moves we have been expecting since Wayne Krivsky took over. This could be an alright signing; after all, the guy can pick it at SS, as long as there are some additional moves to complete the defensive shoring-up, add some more good pitching, and at least one bat. Well, here we are in July and the Reds still have Dunn and Encarnacion bumbling around in the field; so much for the changing the face of the team for a defensive-minded lineup. The Reds re-signed Weathers, signed Stanton, and dealt for Saarloos. So much for the new good pitching. The Reds picked up Josh Hamilton and Jeff Conine. We did actually get a bat in Hamilton, and Hatteberg has carried Conine in the 1B platoon.

Given that, I was quite displeased with the Reds lack of direction last off-season, where they pretty much stood pat with a sub .500 club and did next to nothing to lay the foundation of building a winning team. Now here we are, Narron fired, mired at the bottom of a weak division.

Our $4M+ SS is away for a while attending to a serious family situation. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have seen Phillips slide over to SS in his absence? Do they really think Pedro Lopez is a key piece to this team’s future? I’d think a lot more of Pete Mackanin if he would have made Phillips the starting SS, at least until Gonzalez’s return and played some combo of Freel and Keppinger at 2B. It’s really hard to be convinced that they are trying to win when Encarnacion, who should be part of the future, is riding the pine for the likes of Pedro Lopez and Norris Hopper.

It’s time for the Reds to show a sense of direction and make some moves to change the face of this team to show us they intend to build a winner.

About The Author

Tom Diesman is a Cincinnati area native and grew up in Northern Kentucky and Clermont County. He currently resides in central Indiana. Tom makes his living doing UNIX System and Storage Administration. He fell in love with baseball and the Cincinnati Reds during the Big Red Machine era, and Johnny Bench is his all-time favorite Reds player. Tom is still an avid follower of the Reds, and longs for the organization to bring winning baseball back to Cincinnati.

Related Posts

21 Responses

  1. Bogey

    Any discussion of moving BP to SS is absolutely crazy. He is doing an outstanding job at 2B. Gonzo is more than adequate at SS. Kepp is possibly the 3B until that kid in A ball gets here.

    Now that leaves Freel. Put him on the same train you want to put Dunn and EE on. He is more a liability than an asset. He is just not a very smart ball player.

  2. jimb823

    I think they expect Gonzalez back shorytly and are just giving LOpez some major league experience to increase his trade value since they need to fill the position temporarily anyway and dont see him in their future plans. As far as EdE, there has to be a problem with him of some kind that the club has managed to keep hush hush somehow so far

  3. Chris

    I think you’re short-selling EE and Dunn. Both guys have played much improved defense. The “bumbling around” comment is something I’d expect to see from McCoy.

  4. Bill

    WHY in the world would anyone rather see a 27 year old non-prospect like Keppinger every day than a 24 year old prospect like EE?

  5. rickNmd

    Lopez has no trade value. He’s a career utility player, if that.

    Maybe the reason the 27-year-old non-prospect is playing is because he’s hitting and performing and the 24-year-old prospect plays as though he’s got deer in his headlights almost every game.

  6. Jared

    Keppinger has (in limited plate appearances) a better average and he can throw the ball to first base. Those are a couple reasons I’d like to see him instead of EE. EE has a bigger up side though and of course I want him in.

    While we’re on it, whats up with EE’s E’s? He makes incredible stops, throws the guy out at first. He picks up a lazy grounder, takes his time and throws it away. I think it definately has to be mental, but how do you fix it?

  7. Sultan of Swaff

    There was a play last week that sums up EE in a nutshell, at least to his detractors on the Reds bench. Popup equidistant between home and third. All 3 fielders converge and EE lets it drop. Any high schooler knows the 3b should take charge there, but EE wussed out. Pretty obvious from the body language both the pitcher and Ross were pissed. It’s little stuff like that which exasperates managers and puts you in the doghouse. He just has more brain farts than your average player, and third base is not the best place for that to happen. I like him and want to keep him, but he may be reaching his level of competance.

  8. Daedalus

    Perhaps some brain exercises will help out EE. Maybe he’s just a stupid guy, but he’s quiet so we don’t know it. Give him some books, make him work out his brain.

  9. GregD

    Kepp is in the lineup tonight at SS. That seems like a weaker defensive arrangement than Phillips at SS and Kepp at 2nd.

  10. spacehead

    Wow… this could possibly be the worst post i’ve ever seen on RLN.. Congrats

  11. Justin

    It isnt surprising that EE would do a lazy thing like that. I hope we can get something for him.

  12. Chris

    So far this week, we’ve learned that Encarnacion is a wuss (Sultan), dumb (Daedalus), and greedy (Hal McCoy).

    I have no clue why so few people like this guy.

  13. Justin

    Chris you cant forget me, I have said for a while he is Lazy.

  14. rickNmd

    re: Posts 11-12, and yet the only one among that group who would actually know EE’s personality, work habits, manhood or greediness is McCoy.

  15. DevilsAdvocate


    Edwin kicked my puppy once.

    Edwin makes a mess at the clubhouse buffet table, and never ever cleans it up.

    Edwin borrowed my Old School DVD and didn’t return it. He said it got lost but I think he still has it.

    Edwin gets rides everywhere with teammates but never chips in for gas.

  16. Justin

    Great that he car pools. No good he doest chip in for Gas. The Old School DVD was signed by Farrell. I hope the boys buys him a bus ticket to where ever he winds up. That being said. we are no longer on pace for 100 losses. If I do my math correctly it is 98 losses or .0098 percent of the Phillies total team losses……Hehe.

  17. Mike

    EE should play everyday. The Reds should move Phillips to SS and platoon Freel and Keppinger. Getting rid of Gonzalez would be a very smart move. His defense is not that great and the Reds could get a decent reliever for him possibly.

    Why do the Reds continue to act like they are a competitive and get rid of Hatteberg, Conine, Gonzalez, Stanton, Hopper, Castro, Freel, Lohse, and Weathers and try and get young. A younger team could not do much worse than what we are watching now.

  18. John

    We haven’t seen him at SS because the Reds don’t want to tinker with the best all-around player they have who isn’t named Griffey.

    I’m all for getting rid of the pricey vets and going young, but I really see Krivsky doing nothing until the offseason. I really don’t think he’ll make a move before the deadline. He’s shown no inclination to improve this team other than minor AAA roster shuffling. From the outside it looks like tunnel vision or just lunacy.

  19. Kerm

    Phillips played a little short stop tonight after Pedro Lopez was hit by a pitch

  20. Matt B.

    I would think that Brandon would want to stay at 2B. If he hits the open market, he’d probably make more money as a power-hitting 2B than a power-hitting SS.