In Mark Sheldon’s Tuesday Notes, Dusty talked about trying to get Mike Costanzo a start, to help break out of the “slump.” Setting aside whether Costanzo’s 1-for-13 Major League debut is a slump or his true level, Dusty’s comments cut to the heart of the problem with the roster Walt Jocketty assembled: It’s thin, thin, thin.

“That job is usually for older, veteran players that have some track record of success, where 0-for-1 doesn’t drive you crazy until the next 0-for-1,” Baker said. “The absolute best one I’ve seen was the Diamondbacks a few years ago, when they had [Danny] Bautista or [David] Dellucci. You had to choose which one you would face. Then when you get by those two, they had [Erubiel] Durazo and [Greg] Colbrunn.

“That was a hell of a combo. I was in that division trying to figure out which one I wanted to face. And all of them could hit. I was like, ‘I hate this decision.’ That’s a manager’s delight. But those combos are hard to find, and also hard to afford, too.”

Is a good bench too expensive for the Reds’ budget? My thought was that guys like Dellucci and Durazo come cheap – you just have to be fairly aggressive in signing, and pick the right ones. But I checked the 20012002 Diamondbacks – Dusty’s model of a great-hitting bench – to see.

Over the two seasons that those four guys were on the roster, the D-Backs won 190 games, two NLW pennants and the 2001 World Series. A large percentage of that was thanks to Randy Johnson, a failed video game developer, and a crew of uh, strangely late-peaking power hitters.

And, as Dusty noted, a great bench (numbers are their 2001, 2002 OPS+):

  • Bautista: 95, 117
  • Colbrunn: 115, 148
  • Delluci: 105, 83
  • Durazo: 124, 136

So each season, the D-Backs had 3 bench bats who were significantly above average, plus a fourth guy having a decent year. Two lefties, two righties.

But Dusty noted — and Jocketty would certainly tell us — production like that costs money. The D-Backs were definitely a high-payroll club (#8 2001; #3 2002), but was the bench expensive?

  • Durazo was home-grown, and only made $260,000 and $375,000.
  • Delluci arrived via the expansion draft, and was also cheap: $325k and $775k.
  • Colbrunn was a journeyman vet, signed by Phoenix before the 1999 season but made less than the league average: $1.6M and $1.8M.
  • Bautista came via trade for the immortal Andy Fox. He made $675k in 2001, then re-signed with Phoenix as a free agent for $2M.

That’s $2.86M in 2001, and $4.95M for 2002.

The 2012 Reds’ payroll is pretty comparable to the D-Backs from a decade ago – just over $81M. Obviously, the market is somewhat higher ($81M doesn’t buy what it used to) but the Reds’ system has done a good job at producing low-cost talent. Rolen and Phillips are the only regulars who aren’t home grown (and BP may as well be). The system even produced two solid bench bats, who cost essentially nothing: Frazier (132 OPS+ so far) and Mesoraco (85 OPS+). That matches the production and cost of Durazo and Delluci, so Walt only had two PH spots to fill, and had several million to do it.

The Reds simply misallocated their resources, spending their bench budget on a chorus of identical Judy-hitting middle infielders, instead of legitimate bats.

  • Miguel Cairo: $1M
  • Wilson Valdez: $930k
  • Paul Janish: $800k (not sure if this is really paid, when he’s in AAA)
  • Willie Harris: $800k

Total: $3.53M

When you add in Ludwick’s $2.0M, you have a quite significant amount of discretionary/bench money, which has produced nearly zilch.

  • Cairo: 15 OPS+ (Yes, fifteen.)
  • Valdez: 6 OPS+ (Yes, six.)
  • Janish: DNP
  • Harris: -25 OPS+ (I didn’t know it went below zero.)
  • Ludwick: 88 OPS+

While it’s easy to see how lousy the Reds’ bench is, what’s harder is finding alternatives. Anyone know of a cheap left-handed masher in AAA? Is Matt Stairs still playing somewhere?

Join the conversation! 80 Comments

  1. Great article. Nice research. Sad, sad, situation.

    The Reds (Jocketty and Baker) have made horrible decisions on signing, rostering and playing. Maybe they over-rely on veteran players who were, in their best years, mediocre. Jocketty signs them, Baker plays them. I’d trace that line back to Corey Patterson, Willy Taveras, Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria. This year’s cast is far, far worse.

    They signed and rostered Willie Harris, instead of Todd Frazier, who had proved himself both last September and this spring. They signed and rostered Wilson Valdez, instead of going with Paul Janish, who had a great spring training.

    I’d even be critical of the 2-year contract for Miguel Cairo. Signing a 37-year old infielder to a two-year contract? Cairo has had some big hits for the Reds, but eventually, time catches up to a player, particularly an infielder. This might have worked if the Reds didn’t have a 3B who was injury prone and only able to play 120 games at best. They needed a much more reliable (younger, healthier) backup for 3B. Todd Frazier comes to mind.

    If the Reds had signed a productive LF, instead of taking a risk on another declining veteran, former Cardinal, Ryan Ludwick, they could have used Chris Heisey as a great bat off the bench and fourth OF.

  2. I’m longing for Laynce Nix, who signed a two-year contract with the Phillies for just $2.5 million. His 2012: .326/.392/.587 (51 PA)

  3. Please put this in a letter addressed to Jocketty and a copy to Castellini!

  4. Thoughts galore on this and I am just glad we didn’t trade a pitcher to get some of this phlegm.

    Costanzo doesn’t belong on an MLB roster and neither does Valdez.

    Just don’t use these guys. Hang DFA on their necks and give them oars and a supply of water.

    All the same, you won’t get a $5.5M guy who is willing to sit the bench.

    IMHO, this really isn’t about talent, but the philosophy of how to manage a roster. My old softball team, we had to let everyone play or else they’d quit the team. In some cases, that was the preferred outcome.

    That’s where I am on this … bad players don’t get to play in the major leagues.

    And once Baker realizes that “luck” has a real tangible established value, he might accidentally … well, that ain’t gonna happen either.

  5. They could get away with Valdez OR Cairo OR Harris. (The D-Backs started Tony Womack, for goodness sakes). You just can’t build your entire bench around a bunch of low-upside singles hitters, no matter how veteran-y they are.

    • They could get away with Valdez OR Cairo OR Harris. You just can’t build your entire bench around a bunch of low-upside singles hitters, no matter how veteran-y they are.

      This belongs in the front-paged post; excellent analysis.

      I’m not too concerned yet, because it’s easy to trade for bench guys at midseason, but swapping Costanzo for Gathright seems like a no-brainer. Honestly, I’d rather have Willie Harris back than Costanzo. Baker compounds these guys’ weaknesses by starting them at the same time, batting them too high in the order or pinch-hitting them while better options marinate until the 13th inning.

  6. Yes the bench is awful. And these are all good points. But didn’t we get great pitching in return for trading away our bench? Having one of the best pitching staff’s in the league right now (especially the bullpen) has propelled us to 7 games over .500. Average pitching and a solid bench (if we had kept Alonso and Heisey was on the bench, but had Wood/Volquez instead of Latos and no Marshall) would not have us where we are today.

    Yes our bench sucks, but I’d rather have excellent pitching than an excellent bench anyday.

    (with that said, I still agree we should DFA costanzo, cairo, and valdez and promote janish, hamilton, and pickup a solid lefty in free agency)

    • Yes the bench is awful.And these are all good points.But didn’t we get great pitching in return for trading away our bench?Having one of the best pitching staff’s in the league right now (especially the bullpen) has propelled us to 7 games over .500.Average pitching and a solid bench (if we had kept Alonso and Heisey was on the bench, but had Wood/Volquez instead of Latos and no Marshall) would not have us where we are today.

      Yes our bench sucks, but I’d rather have excellent pitching than an excellent bench anyday.

      (with that said, I still agree we should DFA costanzo, cairo, and valdez and promote janish, hamilton, and pickup a solid lefty in free agency)

      This is actually a really good point. However, the problem is that it’s “worked” so far because we’ve been really healthy. We had arguably our worst stretch when BP went down. We got lucky that Frazier actually turned out to be a dramatic upgrade over Rolen, but if Votto or Bruce or BP were to go down for any significant amount of time we’d be in big trouble. We’ll need depth if we want to make a playoff run. We won’t stay this lucky all year. But I do agree with your point that we made a trade of bench talent for pitching and, on the surface, that was a smart move if you can only have one. I just hope Jocketty can give us a LITTLE help at the deadline.

  7. Just spit-balling here, but what about a LH, bench type guy like Mark Kotsay or Seth Smith? Both are on teams probably selling.

    • Just spit-balling here, but what about a LH, bench type guy like Mark Kotsay or Seth Smith?Both are on teams probably selling.

      I’d also wonder whether the Reds could rent Jason Giambi for a few months if the Rockies can’t make up some ground in a hurry and get back in contention. He might clog the bases with some walks, though.

  8. I actually want to give Joey Gathright a shot. He’s always intrigued me. I remember when the Reds played the Rays in spring training and someone made the comment that watching Joey Gathright on the bases was like watching a video in fast forward.

    And I mean, his career average is .263, for cryin’ out loud. He can hit a little. And he’s only 30 years old, not like he’s washed up.

    If nothing else, Gathright could be useful as a pinch runner, which is more than you can say for anyone else on our bench.

  9. Call up H-Rod the minute he’s off the DL. Jump AAA, bring him to Cincy. Move up all SS, DFA Valdez and Costanzo. Boom.

  10. That’s a good call on Giambi

  11. I certainly didn’t mind trading the bench for pitching, because I thought for sure we could get some decent bench players. This has to be the easiest spot of the team to fill. That’s why it’s so frustrating. I’d still take a look at Youk. Having him part time with Frazier at third and an occasional break for Joey would greatly add to our bench. If his starts were limited to 3 a week, would he do it? I think his body could. I also agree on Gathraight. Don’t know what happened to him to make him look like he has the plague, but he certainly seems worthy of a flyer.

    • @preach:

      The knock against Gathright is that he doesn’t walk enough to utilize his speed.

      So naturally, he’d fit in perfectly with the Reds.

  12. Our bench sucks and we are in 1st place, I mean if it can’t get any worse than things are looking up.

    • Our bench sucks and we are in 1st place, I mean if it can’t get any worse than things are looking up.

      We are in first place with most of the team healthy and early in the season when we aren’t dependant on the bench often.

  13. What about kicking J.D. Drew’s tires? Would he take a minor league deal?

    • What about kicking J.D. Drew’s tires?Would he take a minor league deal?

      i think we’re all tired of former cardinals in their mid-late 30s. drew batted .222 last year and is a couple months away from being 37.

  14. I knew the “Is Matt Stairs still playing ?” question/joke would come up at some point. Did not understand the Reds lack of interest in hanging on to Laynce Nix. The one problem with him was that with the Reds every time he’d get on a roll, he’d get injured. I was interested in Seth Smith in the off-season. Gathright is raking at AAA.

  15. How about a waddif?

    What if … we kept Volquez and Alonso.

    1. Would Volquez be enough worse than Latos to offset any positives that Alonso would bring to offset the lame-ass contributions of Harris and Costanzo?

    2. If Latos does not join the Reds, does Chapman get that rotation spot?

    I think the Reds panicked and believed they needed another “ace” quality pitcher when in truth, they didn’t. Latos is an easy upgrade over Volquez, one to one. Other aspects of that deal don’t equate as well.

    And I think the concern about Alonso being too good a hitter to sit the bench … hell, that’s his own fault for sucking as an outfielder.

    • hell, that’s his own fault for sucking as an outfielder.

      Reply

      Ouch. Didn’t see Votto in LF to make room for him.

  16. @Johnu1: That Latos deal wasn’t a panic move. Trading Francisco and Heisey for Jair Jurrjens was a panic move. We have Votto entrenched at first. Meso and Hanigan at Catcher. A fantastic bullpen. Hoover is Boxberger in my mind, so you could theoretically consider Juanderful Juan part of the deal in terms of what was lost.

    The Reds needed to make a move like that. It’s easy to look at it right now and be like “not that great of a move.” But everyone and there mother never thought Arroyo would be having the season he’s having, and if you say you thought he would, then you’re lying. Everyone(save maybe Steve) thought Homer was what he was. Mike LEake was consistent, but a #3 at his absolute best. Cueto’s peripherals are that of a solid #2 or a great #3, although I think he’s an old-school type ace pitcher. But Statisticians argue Cueto will fall to earth. Those same guys suggest Latos will be a stud ace. And outside of April, Latos has throw consistently well.

    Alonso would have been nice to have on the bench. But I’d rather have LAtos now, with all of the unpredictable pitcher scenarios that have fallen to fruition. We aren’t handicapped bench-wise by the trade for Latos. We’re handicapped because our GM and owner didn’t have a solid plan of action going in. They took the wait and see approach, so we didn’t get Willingham, Quentin, DeJesus, Seth Smith or Carlos Beltran. They wanted to find value for their dollar, and they paid a low dollar amount and they aren’t even getting what they paid for. They OVERPAID for Ludwick.

    If anything, the panic move was sending Horst for Valdez. That has panic written all over it. And for whatever reason, so far, the Reds haven’t done anything about this problem because they don’t want to admit they completely blew that move.

    Latos is going to be an ace pitcher for us. Volquez, Grandal, Alonso and Boxberger weren’t going to be very much for us at all.

    • @Johnu1: That Latos deal wasn’t a panic move.

      The Reds needed to make a move like that. It’s easy to look at it right now and be like “not that great of a move.”

      Yeah, I buy that … hindsight being pretty clear. I agree that I was apprehensive about Arroyo, was a little higher on Homer than others were and believed that Leake had No. 2 written all over his chest.

      Anyway, it was just a thought. I don’t hide behind it at all.

  17. This is EASILY the worst bench I have ever seen. Worse even than the days of Gookie Dawkins and Juan Castro and Jacob Cruz (who may not have actually all been on a Reds roster at the same time; so one of you gurus don’t need to point that out to try and make me feel stupid. You get the point).

    I keep hoping that our starting 8 will perform well enough that it won’t matter how bad our bench is, only WE DON’T HAVE A STARTING 8! Every single night the lineup is different because EVERYONE ON THE TEAM just HAS TO PLAY!! ARGH!! I have never been so frustrated with a first place team!!

  18. Speaking of the bench, check out today’s lineup:

    1. Zack Cozart (R) SS
    2. Drew Stubbs (R) CF
    3. Jay Bruce (L) RF
    4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
    5. Chris Heisey (R) LF
    6. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
    7. Mike Costanzo (L) 1B
    8. Ryan Hanigan (R) C
    9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

    Dusty Baker has been saying that over this stretch of twenty consecutive days with a game, he wanted to get Joey Votto a day off. So on day TWENTY with an off day tomorrow and again on Monday, Baker puts Costanzo in at first base. Votto has shown no signs of being tired – in fact, he’s totally in a grove. He was hitting line drives all over the park last night.

    I’m sorry, but sitting Votto today, when he gets two days off in the next five, is just crazy.

    • Speaking of the bench, check out today’s lineup:1. Zack Cozart (R) SS2. Drew Stubbs (R) CF3. Jay Bruce (L) RF4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B5. Chris Heisey (R) LF6. Todd Frazier (R) 3B7. Mike Costanzo (L) 1B8. Ryan Hanigan (R) C9. Johnny Cueto (R) PDusty Baker has been saying that over this stretch of twenty consecutive days with a game, he wanted to get Joey Votto a day off. So on day TWENTY with an off day tomorrow and again on Monday, Baker puts Costanzo in at first base. Votto has shown no signs of being tired – in fact, he’s totally in a grove. He was hitting line drives all over the park last night. I’m sorry, but sitting Votto today, when he gets two days off in the next five, is just crazy.

      Why..it’s a long season, why not give your best player a few days off so he can catch his breath and rest a bit. Do you work everyday without a day off or two? Come on this bashing of Dusty is getting out of hand…

      • Why..it’s a long season, why not give your best player a few days off so he can catch his breath and rest a bit. Do you work everyday without a day off or two?

        Have you ever heard Joey Votto talk about how much pride he takes in playing every single game? Not 150 out of 162, not 160 out of 162, but all 162. He thinks players of the stature that he aspires to should play every single game. Tomorrow is an off day. Monday is an off day.

        Obviously, it’s not the end of the world.

        • @Steve Mancuso:

          Have you ever heard Joey Votto talk about how much pride he takes in playing every single game? Not 150 out of 162, not 160 out of 162, but all 162. He thinks players of the stature that he aspires to should play every single game. Tomorrow is an off day. Monday is an off day.

          Not to mention baseball ain’t football. In a 3 hour game you’ll spend 1:25 just standing around an 1:25 sitting.

          • @Steve Mancuso: Not to mention baseball ain’t football. In a 3 hour game you’ll spend 1:25 just standing around an 1:25 sitting.

            Really? You think that is all the time and effort a player puts in on a daily basis? Football games are once a week and players only play either offense or defense, and plays last maybe 20 – 30 seconds, players get a full week of rests, a majority don’t even play or play actually very little….I mean plus they have all that padding…8O

          • Really?You think that is all the time and effort a player puts in on a daily basis?Football games are once a week and players only play either offense or defense, and plays last maybe 20 – 30 seconds, players get a full week of rests, a majority don’t even play or play actually very little….I mean plus they have all that padding…8O

            Looks to me like somebody forgot to turn on the sarcasm font and somebody else got fooled by it.

        • Have you ever heard Joey Votto talk about how much pride he takes in playing every single game? Not 150 out of 162, not 160 out of 162, but all 162. He thinks players of the stature that he aspires to should play every single game. Tomorrow is an off day. Monday is an off day. Obviously, it’s not the end of the world.

          Every athlete wants to play every minute of every game, that is why we have managers to do what is in teh best interest of the player and team long term

          • Every athlete wants to play every minute of every game, that is why we have managers to do what is in teh best interest of the player and team long term

            Votto will be a pinch hitter tonight, if the game goes into extra innings. We will use Cairo and Valdez first, however.

  19. @Steve Mancuso: On the plus side, I’m pro Jay Bruce in the 3 hole in Votto’s absence. I think the hope is that Cueto picks up where Bailey left off and just a few runs will do. Votto is probably mad– “What am I going to do with two days off Dusty?” Dusty: “Go fishin’, keep working on your Spanish.”

  20. @hermanbates: If this rotation keeps it up – we could be looking at 800 innings from four of the starters with Leake turning in an admirable 160 innings. I don’t think that happens all too often.

    If it means no Alonso, then I am find with that kind of starting rotation!

  21. If I was hitting the way Votto has been, the last thing I’d want is a day off, let alone two in a row and three in six days.

    • If I was hitting the way Votto has been, the last thing I’d want is a day off, let alone two in a row and three in six days.

      Votto is definitely hot, but lumping the off days together like this is probably the smart move. Votto did play four straight games in hot weather, the last 2 in the afternoon. This is as good a time as any to sit him. I’m guessing that Dusty would have done it before this, but wanted Bruce to start hitting again before doing it.

      • Votto is definitely hot, but lumping the off days together like this is probably the smart move.Votto did play four straight games in hot weather, the last 2 in the afternoon.This is as good a time as any to sit him.I’m guessing that Dusty would have done it before this, but wanted Bruce to start hitting again before doing it.

        Giving JV the night off just means he doesn’t have to pre-game prep like usual but what I hear about the guy, that’s not even a topic.

        But Dusty’s patience could bear sour fruit if he thinks “just one more AB” from T-Bone is the one that turns him around.

        A win is a win.

  22. @Steve Mancuso: Wow, $225 million and we are sitting him on the bench while healthy?

    If Costanzo fails tonight and the Reds lose, I don’t think it would be an overstatement to charge both losses to Managerial Incompetence as the primary factor.

  23. @rightsaidred: Well let’s wait and see how it happens first… Cueto has a pretty big say in how things break down.

  24. @Steve Mancuso: As I thought, no change at the top of the order. Hanigan behind Costanza IS A JOKE!

  25. Dusty warned he needed to get T-Bone going so having him in the 7 spot is a great place, ahead of Hanigan, who has been hot but will probably be lukewarm today.

    I guess if I was ever pulling for a guy to get 2 hits, it would be T-Bone. As crappy as he has been, it would be nice if he had a memory or two to take back to Pensacola.

  26. I like Constanzo in that spot. He should see pitches that he can hit. If he blows it tonight, DFA him. Personally I would have DFA’d the whole bench (except Ludwick and maybe Cairo) and brought in some local high schoolers by now, but whatever. Still, I can’t see why we only have 5 people that know how to make contact with a baseball in a major league lineup. 4 of them sit in the heart of the order.

    Cueto better have his stuff tonight or the Reds will drop a series they should have swept.

    • I like Constanzo in that spot. He should see pitches that he can hit. If he blows it tonight, DFA him. Personally I would have DFA’d the whole bench (except Ludwick and maybe Cairo) and brought in some local high schoolers by now, but whatever. Still, I can’t see why we only have 5 people that know how to make contact with a baseball in a major league lineup. 4 of them sit in the heart of the order.Cueto better have his stuff tonight or the Reds will drop a series they should have swept.

      Won yes…swept…why no respect for the Pirates…especially when it’s there?

  27. I’m fine with Votto getting a day off and Costanzo getting a start, but batting him at 7 ahead of Hanigan (highest average of all the starters) is just ridiculous. I’m more irked at the fact that Dusty still hasn’t done anything with Cozart/Stubbs at the top of the order.

  28. @Johnu1: Pensacola? Ouch.

  29. @Johnu1: Couldn’t disagree more. You can never have enough top of the rotation pitchers. If matching up Cueto vs Zack Greinke gives you a 51% chance of winning, what does having Cueto 2 vs Randy Wolfe do for you? And what happens when you get that matchup 30 times in a year?

    A starting pitcher is responsible for ~20 ABs a game, a hitter 5. No one makes a bigger impact than the starting pitcher.

  30. I’ve read reports that wonder why so-and-so isn’t up … well, he’s on the DL, so we can’t use him anyway.

    Chris Valaika was NOT on the DL back in March when the Reds decided they were better off with Exxon Valdez as their soup du jour.

    Now somebody is saying how we can’t use Henry Rodriguez because HE is on the DL. Again, he wasn’t on the DL when we chose Boom Boom Harris instead.

    “If we’d bought that Microsoft stock when it was only a buck ….”

  31. @Jared: Not sure what you are disagreeing about. I don’t think you get any matchups 30 times a year but whatever it was that you disagree with, I am fine with that. I am amused at the hyperbole that some of you use to make a point.

    Again, I don’t disagree with anything here. A pinch hitter is a guy on the bench. A pitcher isn’t.

    Does that help?

    • Really?You think that is all the time and effort a player puts in on a daily basis?Football games are once a week and players only play either offense or defense, and plays last maybe 20 – 30 seconds, players get a full week of rests, a majority don’t even play or play actually very little….I mean plus they have all that padding…8O

      Yeah, really. I’ve played both. Football is exhausting. Baseball isn’t. I haven’t played baseball 162 times a year, but I’ve run a few miles 365 times a year. There’s absolutely no way a healthy 28 year old 1B should need a day off.

      @Jared: Not sure what you are disagreeing about. I don’t think you get any matchups 30 times a year but whatever it was that you disagree with, I am fine with that. I am amused at the hyperbole that some of you use to make a point.

      Again, I don’t disagree with anything here. A pinch hitter is a guy on the bench. A pitcher isn’t.

      Does that help?

      #1) I fail to see how comparing Johnny Cueto to another top of the rotation starter could be called hyperbole. You could maybe call the rest of what I said a metaphor. What would have made more sense would be just to ignore what I said if your sole purpose was condescension.

      #2) To be clear, I wasn’t talking about a literal match up of “Cueto 2” vs Randy Wolfe 30 times a year. I meant a match up of ace vs not ace. If you have 2 guys that could be aces, you’re giving yourself a much better shot 30 times a year.

      • Yeah, really. I’ve played both. Football is exhausting. Baseball isn’t. I haven’t played baseball 162 times a year, but I’ve run a few miles 365 times a year. There’s absolutely no way a healthy 28 year old 1B should need a day off.#1)

        If you don’t think playing major league baseball day in and day out isn’t taxing on teh body, mind and soul then you are just kidding yourself. Do you work at your job every day without any days off or very few?

        • If you don’t think playing major league baseball day in and day out isn’t taxing on teh body, mind and soul then you are just kidding yourself. Do you work at your job every day without any days off or very few?

          Travelling with the team and doing everything but actually playing the game can’t very refreshing to the mind and soul. Playing the game when you’re healthy isn’t hard work. If you’re hurt, obviously you want to take the time to get healthy again.

  32. @dn4192: Right… two out of 3 on the road is all you can really ask. And McDonald showed why they aren’t always pushovers. The Pirates had a 5 game winning streak until Homer and the boys got in the way.

  33. @Matt WI: Any team that gets its top three hitters on base early in the game and produces a run or two is going to give you a run for it.

    Maybe that’s part of our overall frustration is seeing our 1-2 hitters going 0-8 and seeing the other team get a leadoff guy on, advanced to third on a double or single to right ….

    Pittsburgh’s offense is awful. You can’t give them a chance to beat you.

  34. I think due to their poor history over the past couple of decades people just assume the Pirates are not good now. They are around .500 have some very nice good young talent, a nice young pitching staff and more talent coming, They are not division contenders yet, but they are not bottom feeders either.

  35. My prediction: T-Bone goes 0-4 tonight and gets sent down next week to make room for Gathright.

  36. If anybody oughta be POed, it’s Cueto. But yeah, I’m OK with giving JV an off day, and I kinda thought today would be the day.

    Hoping T-Bone goes 3-4 tonight. Not expecting it, mind you, just hoping.

  37. @eric nyc: Infield depth:

    Cairo can hold his own for a week or so.

    Valaika is on the 7-day DL, Janish is out until the Mayan calendar expires. That leaves Kris Negron, not an upgrade over what we have.

    Brodie Greene and Didi Gregorius are our Wahoos.

  38. @eric nyc: I’d suspect a move is in the works. I wouldn’t be shocked to get a rental player for power in left(Quentin, Francouer, Willingham) and a left handed bench bat(Gathright, Henry Rodriguez(I know he’s hurt, relaxxxxx), some left handed hitter some team has that doesn’t play that the Reds can get for cheap who will post an amazing OPS(duh)). But Walt has to pull something. Standing pat is the absolute worst thing he could do.

    • @eric nyc: I’d suspect a move is in the works. I wouldn’t be shocked to get a rental player for power in left(Quentin, Francouer, Willingham) and a left handed bench bat(Gathright, Henry Rodriguez(I know he’s hurt, relaxxxxx), some left handed hitter some team has that doesn’t play that the Reds can get for cheap who will post an amazing OPS(duh)). But Walt has to pull something. Standing pat is the absolute worst thing he could do.

      I am willing to bet any moves will be just promotions from within, I don’t think or see Walt making any deals unless this team goes into the tank, there is no justification to at this point, they are in first and winning.

  39. @hermanbates: Willingham isn’t a rental player BTW. He’s just a name I’ve heard.

  40. @dn4192: No, the Pirates are actually bad. They’ve been outscored by 30 runs, which typically results in a 20-29 record. (They’re actually 24-25). They’re also 9-3 against the Cubs, Rockies, and Diamondbacks — the three worst teams they’ve played — which makes them 15-22 against the rest of the league(s).

    • @dn4192: No, the Pirates are actually bad. They’ve been outscored by 30 runs, which typically results in a 20-29 record. (They’re actually 24-25). They’re also 9-3 against the Cubs, Rockies, and Diamondbacks — the three worst teams they’ve played — which makes them 15-22 against the rest of the league(s).

      I said they were middle of the pack, they have beaten the teams they should and lost to teams they should. But they are getting better and better then what they have been over the past decades.

  41. @Jared: Please look back on what I wrote and explain why it is you couldn’t disagree more.

    All I wanted to know was what you were disagreeing with me about.

    You don’t need my permission to disagree but I would like to be in clear about what it was that you didn’t agree with … I already said Latos was an upgrade over Volquez.

    Maybe just fill me in.

    We don’t have two guys who could be aces. The Phils have that. We don’t.

  42. Mark Kotsay would be a great pickup, if he ever gets back to his usual level of injured-ness. He’s lefty, can play the OF, and can get on base. The Padres would give him away, I’m sure.

    There’s a good chance he could be a Doran/Edmonds signing, though.

  43. @Johnu1: Do me a favor next time and ask rather than issuing a belittling challenge to explain.

    “I think the Reds panicked and believed they needed another “ace” quality pitcher when in truth, they didn’t.”

    I disagree that signing Latos was a panic move. You always need another ace quality pitcher.

  44. Jocketty was asleep when Bobby Abreu was cut. He would have been the perfect guy. He bats left handed, which seems to be more important than skill. He gets on base and works the pitcher.

    I would like to see what Gathright can do. It can’t be any worse, right? At least he brings a threat to the plate and in the running game.

    • Jocketty was asleep when Bobby Abreu was cut. He would have been the perfect guy. He bats left handed, which seems to be more important than skill. He gets on base and works the pitcher.I would like to see what Gathright can do. It can’t be any worse, right? At least he brings a threat to the plate and in the running game.

      How do you know Walt was asleep? Maybe Walt looked into him and Bobby didn’t want to play in cincy. Has Walt said he didn’t pursue him or has Bobby said the Reds never called? Again more assumption without any facts…

  45. @Jared: . Yes we disagree. Signing Latos was a panic move, IMHO.

    He’s a good pitcher, but he’s hardly an ace. Not even close. Maybe someday. Right now, he’s a serviceable starting pitcher.

    And fwiw, maybe we all ought to take a chill pill. Discussing things on a damned forum board need not be a virtual pi**ing match. All in all, I am a pretty nice guy. I didn’t join this forum because I wanted to be a pr**k.

    I came here to share a common thread — being a Reds fan.

    So if you are upset about that, sorry.

    • @Jared: . Yes we disagree. Signing Latos was a panic move, IMHO.He’s a good pitcher, but he’s hardly an ace. Not even close. Maybe someday. Right now, he’s a serviceable starting pitcher.And fwiw, maybe we all ought to take a chill pill. Discussing things on a damned forum board need not be a virtual pi**ing match. All in all, I am a pretty nice guy. I didn’t join this forum because I wanted to be a pr**k.I came here to share a common thread — being a Reds fan.So if you are upset about that, sorry.

      Can someone please explain to me what a “panic” move is? We needed to upgrade our starting pitching, no one debates that, we had players whom had no place to play on the major league roster so we traded what we had extra’s and didn’t need for something we did. Where does “panic” enter the picture?

      Was it a panic move by Yankees when they traded top prospects to the M’s for their young stud pitcher in the offseason?

  46. Latest on Chappy. Hotel room robbed, his guest tied up and … sounds a little weird.

  47. @Johnu1: Would you think it was a panic move if Latos WAS an ace?

    I’ve watched people debate what an “ace” is, but the way I see it is if a pitcher improves your rotation and is affordable, it’s a better move than looking at your offense the majority of the time.

  48. Is there a stat like “productive plate apperances” ? As in the percentage of plate appearances where you aren’t just giving the other team an out? Something like this:

    ( Hits + walks + HBP + sacrifices ) / plate appearances

    • @Jared: On base percentage. A sacrifice is pretty much the definition of just giving the other team an out.

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        @Jared: On base percentage. A sacrifice is pretty much the definition of just giving the other team an out.

        I think he was joking. What he posted was the equation for OBP and yes, sacrifices are included.

  49. @dn4192: We may be spending too much time defining the word “panic” as it’s essentially not quite the same as running for cover to avoid the tornado.

  50. Can we not bring up guys like Gathright, Kristopher Negron, Danny Dorn and either Janish or Valaika? Neftali Soto, anyone? The only drawback is that none of them is hitting better than .300, except Gathright and his 17 at bats. I’d rather see them than Cairo, Harris, Valdez and even T-Bone. We need to think like the Montreal Expos used to think. Trade a veteran and bring some kids up from double-A Harrisburg…Vladi Guerrero, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Charles Johnson…all came from Harrisburg.

  51. And I didn’t see Joel Guzman raking a bit in Pensacola….

  52. […] IF THEY HAD A DECENT BENCH some of this talk wouldnt exist. Here’s a very nice analysis of The Club’s shortcomings in that department, from Redleg […]

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