Hello.  Garmin here.  Before Bud Selig broke the Midsummer Classic by handing the winner home field advantage in the World Series, the All-Star game was nothing more than a diversion, a little cotton candy if you will, a rest stop on Route 162 on the way to the end of September —- and for a handful of lucky teams, beyond.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Life is a journey, not a destination.”  Because I cannot find anything Ralph might have said about the DH or RISP, I’m going on the assumption that Mr. Emerson doesn’t know much about baseball.  So, I choose to focus on the journey only insofar as it helps us understand how the Reds got to where they are:  9 games over .500 and a game back of first place —- and where they want to be —- playing deep into October.  Because as much as Mark Sheldon is going to hate this, baseball in Cincinnati these days is about the Destination with a capital D.  We all enjoyed the “Journey” back in 2010.  Now, it’s time to finish the trip.

I’m your GPS if you haven’t figured it out by now.  Punch in 85 games and Garmin says:  a stout bullpen, an ironman rotation and merely the most exciting everyday player in baseball today have resulted in 47 wins.  Possible detours off the road to 90+ wins center around a homer-centric offense that too often finds itself shut down faster than a strip club in Hamilton County.  This team should be close to 15 games over .500 with a nice cushion in the NL Central.

The potholes have been identified.  An aging Rolen.  The failed Drew Stubbs Experiment.  A bench that befits Louisville Slugger Field, not Great American Ballpark.  A manager with a curious method of marshaling his resources.

Yes, Rolen needs to give way to Frazier.  It is indeed Scott’s time to “sweep the streets he used to own.”  Is it the no-brainer everyone insists it is?  Remember where you are.  You are here.  You are in Cincinnati.  This is not a place where the venerable are discarded like so many worn down bars of P&G soap.  If you think today’s ballplayer wants to make 100 Joe Nuxhall Way home just because Johnny Bench once played here, you’re fooling yourself. Just as Jim Day hawks the city as “the” summertime travel destination, so do the Reds use their relationship with their players as a message to potential future ballplayers (and their agents) that Cincinnati is a welcoming organization that will treat a player with respect —- no matter the circumstance (see, e.g., Jonny Gomes).  All of this makes things decidedly more complicated than simply handing Rolen a gold watch and a permanent seat next to Gapper.

The bench is hard to fix simply because everyone is looking for the same thing: players who can make a difference for a Walmart price.  The Reds’ GM gets hell for not putting together a better collection of part-time players.  However, Brian Cashman, he of the loaded NY Yankees, just picked up Darnell McDonald (remember him?), recently DFA’d by the Red Sox.  If baseball’s penthouse can’t do better than a Reds castoff who is hitting .214, what are we flogging Walt Jocketty for again?

The Reds have two roads they can go down.  One is to simply put their offense together better.  That’s something the GM can and should do.  Hold the manager’s feet to the fire.  Insist that Baker get the best hitters the most at bats.  Put the people who can best get on base in front of their Canadian hitting machine.  Cost per mile: nothing.

The second is to make a trade.  Who do the Reds part with?  Bailey, you say? Mike Leake?  The Reds have 5 starters and a prayer behind them.  The starting staff is a major part of the reason this team is where it is.  If you think Chapman can start, remember once again where you are.  You are here.  You are in Cincinnati.  The Reds have nixed that idea for this year.  You’ll pry closer Chapman from Dusty Baker’s cold dead hands.  Trading one of the current starting 5 to improve the hitting would go against everything that has gotten the Reds where they are now.  It would be a major whiff.  If anything, the Reds need to find insurance for the rotation, unless they think they can do for the remainder of the season what 28 other teams have been unable to do up to now: compete with only 5 starters.

The one place of depth is the bullpen.  GMs covet pitching above all else.  Assuming Walt is willing to part with an important cog in the bullpen, assuming the front office is finally weary of the Drew Stubbs Experiment, assuming another GM believes he can teach the stubborn Texan to hit, and further assuming the Reds are willing to hand centerfield to Chris Heisey (a somewhat large assumption), the Reds might, MIGHT be able to find the valuable bat they so desperately need.

Perhaps the Reds are willing to dip further into their dwindling pool of prospects.  That seems to be a very high price that will have deep ramifications further on down the road.  And any trade is based on the assumption that a viable partner exists.  The addition of a second wild card team would seem to suggest that fewer teams will become active sellers.

So, while you are planning Scott Rolen’s exit, Aroldis Chapman’s first start or waiting for Walt Jocketty to trade Homer Bailey, Didi Gregorius & Chris Heisey for David Wright, just remember where you are.

You are here.

59 Responses

  1. pinson343

    Walt might always surprise us, but no way that I expect a major (David Wright size) move. WJ must recognize that Stubbs is not the answer in CF, and a CFer will be traded for. The biggest move I would expect would be for someone like Shane Victorino, and it looks like that might be happening. Apparently Victorino had alienated the Phils management.

    I agree with the all the major points above, in particular that the Reds should not trade any of the current starting rotation. Organizationally, the Reds are thin with their starting pitching – they’ve been lucky the 5 have made every start. And as far as 2012 goes, no point to even thinking about Chapman as a starter – WJ has said he’s a closer for the rest of 2012.

    I agree that it’s not easy to build a deep bench, our old friends Dewayne Wise and Darnell McDonald are with the Yankees, but I disagree that it’s difficult to improve the Reds current terrible bench. Pick up one LHed bat, for crap’s sake.

  2. royhobbs

    IMO, Scott Rolen has been paid quite handsomely for his half season of success. Letting him down easy shouldn’t be a huge problem. “Thanks for your service, but the rest of us are being held accountable for results, so we have to move on or face the consequences.” I’m hoping Jocketty has the stones to do that. We can’t compare him to GMs of the past who “were here” any more than we can predict this team’s west coast results based on what the Griffey and Dunn teams did out there.

    I don’t know what to do about Stubbs. He’s valuable in CF. I think I would just move him down to the 8 hole. That’s the theme as a whole, I think. Fix the lineup. Make it so that Phillips leads off, followed by Cozart and then move Bruce up to 4. Stop worrying about late inning lefties that may or may not enter the game when you can pound the right handed starter earlier on and potentially have a big lead anyway. I’m not sure why two lefties in a row matters when one of them hits lefties great anyway. The only thing it really does do is allow Phillips to face more lefties because the opposing manager wants to leave the lefty in for Bruce. Historically, Phillips is a much better hitter against LHP. I doubt that makes up for pitching around Votto. The key is getting Phillips up in the order so guys are on base for Votto and so that he’s not leading off so many innings.

  3. pinson343

    Ordinarily I don’t talk about the remaining schedule and I ignore it when others do. Things never go as expected, due to parity, pitching match ups, injuries, cold teams getting hot, hot teams getting cold, etc.

    But this is pretty remarkable. Other than games against the Pirates and Cardinals, the Reds have only TWO remaining series with teams over .500, and both of those are at home: the Mets in August and the Dodgers in September.

    Final 3 games of the season: in St. Louis.

  4. pinson343

    Nice post, Richard. How can this blog have so many good writers ?

  5. shadow32

    I concur. I stay subscribed to this blog because the writers are excellent and the posts are always interesting.

    It’s clear that there’s not a lot of wiggle room for improvement for this team in the second half, aside from making some plainly obvious playing time decisions at 3B and CF that most of us know probably isn’t going to happen to the extent we think it should (e.g. Frazier playing every game). Some day Chris Heisey is going to go to (insert team here), be given a shot every day and prove that he is, in fact, a very good baseball player. Maybe Heisey spits on Dusty’s shoes in the dugout or something…I don’t know why else the young man isn’t playing over Stubbs every day. How many plays in CF does Stubbs make that Heisey can’t? One a month…maybe?

    There is no way they should part with any more minor league talent. Raping the Future for the sake of a questionable return in the Present just doesn’t seem like a good idea at this point.

    It’s clear this team can’t part with any of the five starters via trade at this point. Would we be better off with Jeff Francis or Pedro Villarreal as the fifth starter? Ugh. I’ll take Homer/Leake over those two, thank you very much. Everything that is needed for a WS team is already signed and on the team. What’s needed is some luck and better management of those pieces.

    As far as the lineup goes, I’m casting my vote for royhobbs a couple of posts up to fill out the lineup card for Dusty Baker from this point forward.

    • CaptainTonyKW

      Here we go again. Heisey has had at least two chances at proving himself as a starter and fell flat both times. This year, his OPS is .699 in 228 plate appearances (the same number as Ludwick, who has a .789 OPS). He is a good 4th outfielder but nothing more. In fact, I’d would not be suprised if his production is inversely proportionate to his playing time.

      On what basis do you think he is a “very good” starter? Because he plays hard and gets his uniform dirty?

      Some day Chris Heisey is going to go to (insert team here), be given a shot every day and prove that he is, in fact, a very good baseball player. Maybe Heisey spits on Dusty’s shoes in the dugout or something…I don’t know why else the young man isn’t playing over Stubbs every day. How many plays in CF does Stubbs make that Heisey can’t? One a month…maybe

      • Racine Red

        Here we go again.Heisey has had at least two chances at proving himself as a starter and fell flat both times.This year, his OPS is .699 in 228 plate appearances (the same number as Ludwick, who has a .789 OPS).He is a good 4th outfielder but nothing more.In fact, I’d would not be suprised if his production is inversely proportionate to his playing time.

        On what basis do you think he is a “very good” starter?Because he plays hard and gets his uniform dirty?

        That’s right. I don’t understand where the notion that Heisey could be a very good (i.e., one of the better) starting outfielder. Nowhere in his past indicates that he’s be very good aside from a flukey power surge last year.

  6. AnnapolisHoosier

    I actually think we are OK in CF. Just don’t bat him first or second. Cozart is having an outstanding year as a rookie SS, just don’t bat him first.

    1. Phillips-SS
    2. Hanigan-C
    3. Votto-1B
    4. Bruce-RF (can flip he and Luwick or Frazier if Dusty insists)
    5. Ludwick-LF
    6. Frazier-3B
    7. Cozart-SS
    8. Stubbs-CF

    OR

    Phillips
    Frazier
    Votto
    Ludwick
    Bruce
    Mesoroco
    Cozart
    Stubbs

    • Racine Red

      I actually think we are OK in CF. Just don’t bat him first or second. Cozart is having an outstanding year as a rookie SS, just don’t bat him first.

      1. Phillips-SS
      2. Hanigan-C
      3. Votto-1B
      4. Bruce-RF (can flip he and Luwick or Frazier if Dusty insists)
      5. Ludwick-LF
      6. Frazier-3B
      7. Cozart-SS
      8. Stubbs-CF

      OR

      Phillips
      Frazier
      Votto
      Ludwick
      Bruce
      Mesoroco
      Cozart
      Stubbs

      Your first lineup, with or without the flip, is the lineup that the team should use. Phillips will not be a great leadoff hitter but he’ll be ok, probably. Which would be a huge upgrade.

  7. shadow32

    I read your post, looked at some other teams in comparison, and saw that Soriano’s numbers are even better than Heisey’s. Promptly threw up in my mouth a little and then conceded defeat in this particular arena. I admit my favorite player was Jonny Gomes until they dumped him. I stand corrected!

  8. Racine Red

    The Yankees are in a completely different situation as the Reds. They have a huge payroll and spend most of it on starters, which makes sense when you have a bunch of superstars. They have much less need for a bench because of the DH, also. Their organization is also just one example. Look at the Cardinals bench.

    It’s true that a trade of a SP is counterproductive given that Chapman won’t start this year. You’d be going with Lecure, and that’s a wildcard.

    The GM will never hold Baker to changing the lineup, so that’s not a possibility just as Chapman in the rotation isn’t a possibility.

    Also, if they package a bullpen guy and Stubbs, I have to believe that they’d be getting back a CF who’s at least somewhat of an upgrade from both Heisey and Stubbs.

  9. royhobbs

    What’s the reason we’d want Hanigan 2nd? OBP? Ability to go the other way for the hit and run? I think the OBP is partially a function of getting pitched around for the pitcher.

  10. Steve Mancuso

    I actually do look for Jocketty to make a major move. What he trades depends on what he trades for. Upgrade the starting rotation by trading one of the current starters as part of the package. Upgrade the OF by including Heisey or Stubbs in there, too. We have some bullpen pieces we could get by without.

    Plus, one more big chip: Billy Hamilton.

    I know this isn’t particularly popular, but Hamilton is limited in what he can offer. He doesn’t have a position to play. He hits for no power. He hasn’t proven himself above A ball.

    Now some, or all of that might change.

    But if we were able to trade Hamilton and Stubbs for Justin Upton, I’d do it.

    • AnnapolisHoosier

      I personally wouldn’t trade Hamilton, I think he has once in a lifetime speed. I don’t know why he couldn’t be a decent OF.

    • royhobbs

      @Steve Mancuso:

      I actually do look for Jocketty to make a major move. What he trades depends on what he trades for. Upgrade the starting rotation by trading one of the current starters as part of the package. Upgrade the OF by including Heisey or Stubbs in there, too. We have some bullpen pieces we could get by without.

      Plus, one more big chip: Billy Hamilton.

      I know this isn’t particularly popular, but Hamilton is limited in what he can offer. He doesn’t have a position to play. He hits for no power. He hasn’t proven himself above A ball.

      Now some, or all of that might change.

      But if we were able to trade Hamilton and Stubbs for Justin Upton, I’d do it.

      I keep hearing Upton but that’s not based on anything, and his 14 million per year after this year (for 2 more years) isn’t realistic in the Reds situation.

    • Racine Red

      I actually do look for Jocketty to make a major move. What he trades depends on what he trades for. Upgrade the starting rotation by trading one of the current starters as part of the package. Upgrade the OF by including Heisey or Stubbs in there, too. We have some bullpen pieces we could get by without.

      Plus, one more big chip: Billy Hamilton.

      I know this isn’t particularly popular, but Hamilton is limited in what he can offer. He doesn’t have a position to play. He hits for no power. He hasn’t proven himself above A ball.

      Now some, or all of that might change.

      But if we were able to trade Hamilton and Stubbs for Justin Upton, I’d do it.

      If the Reds had the money to do something large, wouldn’t they have signed Josh Willingham? Unlike Beltran, he was willing to play here, and he cost 7M per year, I believe,for 3 years. That’s like chump change. If they could not afford that, I think we’re looking at bench players at best in terms of trades.

  11. seat101

    First,second and last, what a great article. Thanks for taking the time to craft it and thanks for sharing it. I think your takes on the Cincinnati ethos, the Rolen pathos, and the Baker bathos are really perceptive.

    I’ve made my case on the left side of the infield ~~ we just disagree about rookies and Rolen. As to pitching, we do have some extra value and I wouldn’t miss Stubbs more than I wouldnt miss Heisey, but it’s a close run race.

    As to the Baker bathos, I can only hope Dusty turns a Saul/Paul double play, sees the light, becomes a SabreMensch, and takes us to Mecca by learning tha OBP Is gift from baseball heavev.

  12. seat101

    Heavev=Heaven

    The iPad has a small screen and my fingers are as lithe and supple as those of Mickey Mouse.

  13. earl

    I think the Reds are going to go pretty much with what they got down the stretch.

    I don’t think the Reds could even work on something like Willingham’s deal until they could figure out the deal with Votto and Phillips.

    The other big deal they did came up bust when Madsen’s arm went kaput.

    Then again, the stands have been doing ok in Cincy and the TV ratings are great…maybe they might feel like they can spend some money can get someone, but I tend to doubt it.

  14. earl

    I think the bigger thing is they got to get Bill Bray to AAA or AA (if possible) and try to get him right for the stretch run. A lefty like that could come in handy and right now, he’s not ready for work and the starters are going so long and the games so tight, the Reds really don’t have time to get him going.

  15. Matt WI

    @Racine Red: Fair point. The only hope is that Walt and Bob come to the realization that if they really want to make a strong push, skimping on LF just isn’t going to cut it anymore. They haven’t paid for LF since Dunn left. It worked in 2010 but they’ll have to come the realization that the last 1yr 1/2 of data is pretty accurate. Add in the failure of Stubbs to stabilize and the same reasons they had to stand pat after 2010 are some of the same reasons this season could use some change.

  16. steveschoen

    I like Frazier taking over for Rolen now. It is time. I am a Heisey fan. He has shown me well enough he can take over for Stubbs. What we lose in offense I will take with the improvement in offense. As is, I believe our best lineup would have Bruce, Heisey, Ludwick, Votto, BP, Cozart, Frazier, and Hanigan starting. Rolen, Valdez, Cairo, Devin, and Stubbs on the bench.

    But, even this lineup is useless as long and the Dusty-man is putting Stubbs and Cozart in the 1-2 holes. I could possibly see putting Cozart in the 2 hole. But, Stubbs needs to drop down. He’s no higher than a 7 hole hitter. Not that this has cost us “specific” games. But, no one can argue, if we put some better hitters in front of Votto, that means more runs for us. More runs for us would me more wins for us. But, the way the Dusty-man has this batting order made up, it’s like a football coach putting the wide receivers on the offensive line, and having Whitworth running a fly pattern. It just doesn’t make sense.

    But, as for a trade, that’s different. I was just thinking about Quentin today (or any similar player for that matter). He was traded to the Padres for two minor leaguers. I would think something similar would do it, like one starter and one minor leaguer. But, who would they want. The Padres need offense. But, we aren’t exactly prolific in offense. Stubbs would be great patrolling their outfield, but his offense is atrocious. Heisey would be the better offensive guy. But, would we look to part with a player who can play multiple outfield positions? We do have depth in relief pitching. I would try giving them Stubbs (possibly Heisey instead) and a relief pitcher. If they require it, one and only one minor leaguer, only if we can get Quentin extended. If not, then I believe we look elsewhere.

  17. steveschoen

    The pitching has been great, the pen especially at the beginning of the year, the starters recently. But, to assure this division as well as being able to do anything in the playoffs, we need to improve the offense. Either Dusty has to change the order, putting better hitters in front of Votto, dropping Stubbs or coach them up. Or, we need to go get someone.

    The bench was a disappointment. But, you couldn’t have seen that to well. Cairo has been great for us for 2 years. And then, the Dusty-man kept putting Harris and Costanzo out there just because it was a lefty-righty matchup, when all of our right handed hitters were hitting right handed pitching better than both Harris and Costanzo. That’s not as only the players’ fault but Baker’s fault as well. He shouldn’t have kept putting Costanzo and Harris out there so many times.

  18. steveschoen

    One thing with salary, as far as extending someone, we could have Rolen’s salary next season to play with.

  19. Steve Mancuso

    Justin Upton is way better than Josh Willingham. The Reds probably can’t afford Upton, but who knows. His contract runs during the period when Votto’s contract hasn’t reached his largest. What Matt WI said, maybe ownership is willing to spend now, when they weren’t in December. Wonder if Upton can play CF.

    • Racine Red

      Justin Upton is way better than Josh Willingham. The Reds probably can’t afford Upton, but who knows. His contract runs during the period when Votto’s contract hasn’t reached his largest. What Matt WI said, maybe ownership is willing to spend now, when they weren’t in December. Wonder if Upton can play CF.

      Way better? Really? I feel that is a pretty strong statement when you look at the (hitting) numbers. Willingham is very consistent year to year. In fact, before this year, you might say he’s a right-handed version of Jay Bruce at the plate, though slightly better than Bruce. This year he’s incredible, but I’d certainly be happy having the Josh Willingham pre-2012 playing LF for the Reds.

      On the other hand, Upton has been up and down. His career numbers are inferior to Willingham. His best season is inferior to Willingham’s 2012. Yes, I’d take Upton for 2 years over Willingham because he’ll be near peak, but not for twice the cost, which is what it is as far as I understand.

      • CaptainTonyKW

        This. Willingham’s career OBP is .362. I really hate thinking that we could have had him for ~$7 mil.

        Way better? Really? I feel that is a pretty strong statement when you look at the (hitting) numbers. Willingham is very consistent year to year. In fact, before this year, you might say he’s a right-handed version of Jay Bruce at the plate, though slightly better than Bruce. This year he’s incredible, but I’d certainly be happy having the Josh Willingham pre-2012 playing LF for the Reds. On the other hand, Upton has been up and down. His career numbers are inferior to Willingham. His best season is inferior to Willingham’s 2012. Yes, I’d take Upton for 2 years over Willingham because he’ll be near peak, but not for twice the cost, which is what it is as far as I understand.

    • redsfanman

      Justin Upton is way better than Josh Willingham. The Reds probably can’t afford Upton, but who knows. His contract runs during the period when Votto’s contract hasn’t reached his largest. What Matt WI said, maybe ownership is willing to spend now, when they weren’t in December. Wonder if Upton can play CF.

      I think a major difference is… what are they? Josh Willingham is a cleanup hitter and a solution in that role of hitting behind Votto. Fine with everyone, nobody would disagree, that lineup problem is solved. Phillips would be the team’s best leadoff option, no questions asked.

      What is Justin Upton? Is he a leadoff hitter? He has a better OBP than anybody else competing for that job on the Reds, even Phillips. He’s also probably a better cleanup hitter than Phillips. That’s a no-win scenario for Dusty. If Upton hits 4th Dusty is wrong for choosing the guy with the lower OBP (Phillips) to hit leadoff, if Upton leads off Dusty is wrong for choosing the worse hitter to hit cleanup. Every day we’d hear objections to Upton’s lineup spot.

      I hope the Reds can find somebody who is a solution for ONE spot in the lineup with no disagreement. That’s something guys like Pierre, DeJesus, Willingham, Pence, Quentin are… but Upton might not be.

  20. BloodyHo

    For anyone interested, Hamilton lead off for the Blue Wahoos last night. He struck out the 1st two plate appearances & hit into a fielder’s choice his 3rd plate appearance. With Hamilton on 1B, the pitcher through over 3 straight times then pitched out. Hamilton beat the throw on the pitchout for a stolen base, but was stranded on 2B. In his 4th plate appearance, Hamilton hit an RBI triple for the Blue Wahoo’s only run of the game.

  21. steveschoen

    I don’t know what you want from Heisey. His numbers are equal or better than previous seasons except for his power numbers, that’s it. Which tells me he simply isn’t trying to hit homeruns so much, something that has been a criticism with players on this team. He even has more doubles, triples, hits, better BA, better OBP than Stubbs, the starting CF, and striking out at even a lower clip this year. During the time he was being given most of the time in LF then covering for Stubbs while he was out, he batter 288/324 in 35 games, 32 starts. During much of that time, he batted 325/349, 27 games, 20 started. Stubbs sure hasn’t ever had numbers like this batting in his entire career. Couple that with good defense, he can handle a bat much better than Stubbs (i.e. much better bunter than Stubbs is), he makes a much better OF than Stubbs does IMO. Stubbs is better on defense, but not by much. If Heisey was given the starting slot, with what we get in the improvement in offense, I would take the decrease in defense.

    Not to say Heisey still doesn’t have his faults. He still needs to be more patient or smarter at bat. I remember the game where the pitcher just walked the 2 batters in front of him, and Heisey continued to swing at the first pitch. But, that fault is much easier to work with that all the offensive faults of Stubbs. Not to mention, so many people look to talk of situations like those with Heisey. One number, 205, the number of times Stubbs K’ed last year. A phrase, “under 300”, the range that Stubbs BA and OBP is in right now.

    Clearly, if Heisey is a 4th outfielder, you are must be looking for something just a notch or two under and All-Star outfield, which no team really has. If Heisey is a 4th OF, then Stubbs must be a 5th OF or even a minor leaguer who’s being given a gift right now, simply because he’s fast.

    • Racine Red

      I don’t know what you want from Heisey.His numbers are equal or better than previous seasons except for his power numbers, that’s it.Which tells me he simply isn’t trying to hit homeruns so much, something that has been a criticism with players on this team.He even has more doubles, triples, hits, better BA, better OBP than Stubbs, the starting CF, and striking out at even a lower clip this year.

      Heisey’s numbers, if they are equal to previous seasons without the power, are terrible. That’s because even with him hitting for some power, he’s just not that good. He’s walking less this year and not hitting for power. Yes, he’ll hit for a higher average than Stubbs, but you lose any semblance of walks and power.

      I thought we were past the days of thinking that batting average was more important than on-base percentage.

  22. OhioJim

    @pinson343: Re: scheduling… I think it can be dangerous to look at a remaining schedule and project. Take last year for instance. The Braves had to be thinking they had to win so few games to close the Cards and the Cards so many to catch them.

    However I think comparative analysis can be interesting and often useful. For instance if the Reds have lost two more games to “team A” than the Pirates have, where are the Reds going to get those two games back?

  23. OhioJim

    I think they need to bring in new blood.

    What is really accomplished by shuffling Stubbs off to the 8 hole? Will be take the walks Hanigan works out of that spot? That is doubtful.

    And what of Hanigan in the 2 hole? As is noted above, how much of his OBP comes from being able to work and take the walk when he is being pitched around in the 8 hole? He’d battle in the 2 hole but I fear he could become a DP machine to rival Sean Casey.

    And what is the line up the 40% of the time Meso is starting?

    Nope, it is time to quit shuffling and bring in some new blood…

    • redsfanman

      I think they need to bring in new blood.

      What is really accomplished by shuffling Stubbs off to the 8 hole? Will be take the walks Hanigan works out of that spot? That is doubtful.

      And what of Hanigan in the 2 hole? As is noted above, how much of his OBP comes from being able to work and take the walk when he is being pitched around in the 8 hole? He’d battle in the 2 hole but I fear he could become a DP machine to rival Sean Casey.

      And what is the lineup the 40% of the time Meso is starting?

      Nope, it is time to quit shuffling and bring in some new blood…

      Change always means improvement and more production. Bringing in Mike Costanzo, Kris Negron, Willie Harris, and Bill Bray each helped significantly.

  24. cliff

    The padres won’t take stubbs for quentin. They have maybin. And stubbs doesn’t have the bat to play left or right. Every lineup has holes, and while we should always be looking to improve, we could do worse than stubbs, especially with the defense he can bring. Plus I’d rather have Stubbs as my hole than descalso, shumaker, or whoever else the cardinals have run out to second in recent years. Even the red sox have had to rely on guys like mike aviles and Ryan Sweeney this season, despite track records similar to stubbs. It’s extremely hard to run out a lineup without a weak hitter or two.

  25. sezwhom1

    On Twitter this morning: St. Louis papers hinting LaRussa will take over for Baker as a favor to Jocketty. Lots of conjecture but I’ve been saying this would happen for a month. Makes so much sense. I hope so! Please Walt. Do it.

    • rfay00

      On Twitter this morning:St. Louis papers hinting LaRussa will take over for Baker as a favor to Jocketty.Lots of conjecture but I’ve been saying this would happen for a month.Makes so much sense.I hope so!Please Walt.Do it.

      I hope you are joking.

      • CharlotteNCRedsFan

        I hope you are joking.

        @rfay00: Why not? Over a personal bias. Winning is what matters. Who has the better chance of getting the Reds to the promised land: Baker or Tony?

      • rfay00

        @rfay00: Why not?Over a personal bias.Winning is what matters.Who has the better chance of getting the Reds to the promised land: Baker or Tony?

        I would not be sold that the Reds would all the sudden become a playoff team with LaRussa versus Baker. I think there would be much more behind the scense then the public would see and it would reflect on the field.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      On Twitter this morning:St. Louis papers hinting LaRussa will take over for Baker as a favor to Jocketty.Lots of conjecture but I’ve been saying this would happen for a month.Makes so much sense.I hope so!Please Walt.Do it.

      @sezwhom1: Well that would solve the Rolen dilemma, now wouldn’t?

  26. cliff

    The Red Sox will likely activate Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury this week. Have to think Ryan Sweeney will become available. Career .340 OBP (down TL .318 this year) who has only played in the AL. He’s LH, plays a good corner outfield defense, could probably leas of with his speed, and isn’t A free agent til after 2014. Only drawback is no power. But might excel faxing NL pitching after facing mostly AL East pitching this season. Have to think something like DiDi/henry Rodriguez and a lower level guy gets him.

  27. Big Ed

    According to baseball-reference.com, Upton is due $38.5 million the next three years, plus about $3 million more for this year. He turns 25 in late August.

    On the other hand, Billy Hamilton would get paid at most $5 million in his first three years (depending on 3rd-year arbitration eligibility), if (and “if” is the operative term) he develops as the Reds hope/expect. I believe that Hamilton is a much better bet to produce more value over $5 million than Upton is to produce over $38.5 million. It is a risk either way, but teams like the Reds are constrained to take the $5mm bet instead of the $38.5mm bet. The Yankees would go the other way. Upton would sure make this team better, now, though.

    I don’t want them to trade Hamilton. He’s only in his second year as a switch-hitter, and his strikeout rate is going down and his walk rate going up.

  28. Matt WI

    @sezwhom1: Next year? Or this year? If this year I’m not buying. I almost don’t see how that man could come in an command the respect of the current Reds.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      @sezwhom1: Next year? Or this year? If this year I’m not buying. I almost don’t see how that man could come in an command the respect of the current Reds.

      @Matt WI: It is ironic will do to “command respect”. Don’t you think?

      • CharlotteNCRedsFan

        It is ironic will do to “command respect”. Don’t you think?

        What “success” will do…………..

  29. Matt WI

    @sezwhom1: Say more about why it makes sense given the years long animosity between the Reds and LaRussa. I don’t think that’s just WWE propaganda. I think there are true hard feelings there. Hard to see people like BP and Cueto ready to just fall in line. Even Votto is a team kind of guy. You’d have to imagine the time spent in transition might be just as detrimental as any tactical changes might be beneficial there.

    • Richard Fitch

      I think there are true hard feelings there. Hard to see people like BP and Cueto ready to just fall in line.

      All true. But never underestimate the ability of athletes to develop amnesia when a rival puts on the their uniform. I could easily see LaRussa holding a big meeting to clear the air and “hug it out” with a couple of players. That said, I don’t see this happening now or ever. The Reds are not the kind of organization to fire a manager who is 9 games over .500.

      Further, LaRussa was pretty emphatic that he wanted no part of the dugout. And the column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is pure speculation born of the slowest baseball news day of the season.

  30. CharlotteNCRedsFan

    @rfay00: We will have to agree to disagree. If I’m a MLB GM, I take Tony over Dusty without even a second thought. I don’t really care much personally for LaRussa but winning is the thing that I care about most. Love Dusty Baker just not as a manager. Dusty seems like a great human being but so was Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

  31. Matt WI

    @rfay00: Right. Becoming more successful is speculation. Like I said… in half of a season this seems particularly impractical. Over the course of a new season, it would make more sense. LaRussa over Baker as a game manager is a no brainer, but man, what a statement to move a guy 9 games over. That would speak to everything we’ve ever wondered about Dusty and Walt.

    • CharlotteNCRedsFan

      @rfay00: Right. Becoming more successful is speculation. Like I said… in half of a season this seems particularly impractical. Over the course of a new season, it would make more sense. LaRussa over Baker as a game manager is a no brainer, but man, what a statement to move a guy 9 games over. That would speak to everything we’ve ever wondered about Dusty and Walt.

      Agree Matt. I would be hard pressed to even give it a 1% chance of happening this season. Next year? Who knows – Bob C. has a ton of money invested in this team and if he thought a better manager might do the trick, he may just pull that trigger. (Next year)

  32. cliff

    Am I really the only one who would sooner endure a 4th place finish next year than hand over the reigns and watch Larussa lead this team to October? It would leave a nasty taste in my mouth. When you turn to the dark side, you end up struck by force lightning begging your son to forgive you.(or chris carpenters son in this case.)

  33. rfay00

    @CharlotteNCRedsFan: I agree that I would take LaRussa over Baker. Actually, I would take anyone over Baker or even anything. Road cone, an actual toothpick, etc. That just won’t happen though.

  34. royhobbs

    Clearly LaRussa retired in hopes of managing an organization whose players and fans don’t like him (not to mention their main broadcaster), and clearly the Reds plan is to sign a manager who is loathed by their fans. By saying he wants no part of being in a dugout, LaRussa is just playing it close to the vest so as not to upset Dusty Baker. COME ON!

  35. steveschoen

    Like I said, Heisey’s OBP is higher than Stubbs, also. With more doubles, triples, hits, all in fewer AB’s than Stubbs, better BA, better OBP than Stubbs, striking out at a lower rate than Stubbs and lower than last year, hitting 53 points better against left handers this year, a big weakness of his last year. When being given most of the starting time in LF for a bit then covering for Stubbs while he was out, he batter 288/324 in 35 games, 32 starts. During much of that time, he batted 325/349, 27 games, 20 started. Stubbs sure hasn’t ever had numbers like this batting in any portion this long during his entire career. And, Heisey only has one more error than Stubbs when he has had to play multiple positions? You are going to have to come up with something a lot better than “he’s just not that good” and that Stubbs is faster to prove Heisey’s just not that good.

    I have said, Stubbs is faster, that’s obvious. Stubbs is a better defender, not by that much. Heisey is obviously a better offensive player, that’s obvious. If Heisey was to start, with what we gain in offense, I would be willing to take the hit on defense.

    Either that, or drop Stubbs in the order. His speed is useless hitting in front of Votto. As well as, not saying the 1-2 hole hitting we have had has cost us any specific games. But, we can be doing so much better rather easily. Such as, if Dusty was to put better hitters in front of Votto, that would equal more runs. More runs would equal more wins. And, in a division that could be one by only 1-2 games, if not less, even a 1 game improvement in the first half could mean the difference. All from simple common sense that Dusty refuses to use.

  36. Racine Red

    @steveschoen: Neither one is good. But this notion that Heisey is obviously better on offense just isn’t true. It’s not true for their careers; if you add Stubbs’ speed into his 92 OPS+ vs Heisey’s 100 OPS+, I’d say it’s probably very close. I do not believe either player is as good as his career OPS+, either.

  37. redsfanman

    Drew Stubbs had been having a successful year, hitting ~.350 in the #2 spot before getting hurt and missing a week, then he came back and struggled… going into a ~0/32 streak. Suddenly in the past month his career has become some ‘failed Drew Stubbs experiment’. For his career his OBP is almost identical to Phillips’ (.319 vs .322) and suddenly one is a great leadoff hitter, the never had never been successful with anything. It’s amazing how quickly everyone turns on Drew Stubbs. Heisey has an even worse career OBP than Stubbs while not offering any of Stubbs’ skills… but he’s the perfect solution. Huh?

    Heisey is so overated, I really want him traded just to get rid of him. He’s a good 4th outfielder and valuable off the bench but eliminating all the objections about him being this blocked star player get frustrating. I’ll be happy with any trade deal for an outfielder that Jocketty makes if Heisey is included.

    Cozart has a .298 OBP this season, I think he’s shown that he belongs in the bottom of the lineup. We’ll see how Stubbs and Cozart each perform after resting for a week but I expect Stubbs will perform better than Cozart.

    The Reds have made it very clear that Billy Hamilton isn’t available for trade. Guys like Tony Cingrani, Daniel Corcino, Kyle Lotzkar, Henry Rodriguez, Ryan LaMarre or DiDi Gregorius might still interest other teams – the farm system isn’t just Billy Hamilton.

    I agree that Hanigan’s OBP would go down in the #2 hole without opposing pitchers pitching around him to get to the 9th spot. He’d probably be a double play machine who can’t score from 1b on a double by Votto… while not even playing every day.

    In Justin Upton the Reds would encounter another controversy. Phillips vs Upton, one has to hit leadoff, the other cleanup, either choice is wrong. Upton is better for OBP, Phillips is worse at cleanup. Other players who MAY be available (DeJesus, Pierre, Span, Willingham, Pence, Quentin) can provide one solution at one position in the lineup without the controversy – that’s my main objection to pursuing Upton.

    Dusty Baker now has a winning record as the Reds manager despite this being only his second season in which anyone expected the roster to be capable of finishing over .500. How much longer does Dusty have to manage before fans accept that he has a winning record? Is there anything he can possibly do to NOT need to be fired for the team being in last place?

  38. steveschoen

    @redsfanman:
    Stubbs may have had a 350 OBP in the 2 hole at that time. In comparison, I will use his entire batting since he was moved to the 2 hole regularly. His OBP was 320 before he got hurt. But, if you take out the first 8 games of that time period, where he had an OBP of 432, Stubbs OBP was 292. That’s been Stubbs M.O. Give him a change, like a day’s rest, then he can come out like gangbusters. But, then, he tanks it, each and everytime.

    I will say, also, that Heisey’s numbers aren’t a lot greater than Stubbs, that’s obvious. But, it is also obvious that Heisey can handle a bat better. He makes more contact than Stubbs does, that’s obvious, as well as Heisey is a very good bunter, which Stubbs is still learning how to do as we write. Again, if to decide between the two, with Heisey, with what we gain in offense, I will take what we lose in defense. At minimum, move Stubbs down in the order. It’s obvious, he’s slumped in the 2 hole, as well. He’s said he prefers the 7 hole. Put him in it. That’s where he was when we won in 2010. Let him hit from there again.

    Not to mention, we put better hitters in front of Votto, which we do have in the other spots in the order, that means more runs for us. More runs for us means more wins for us. Some simple logic that Dusty needs to implement.

  39. steveschoen

    @redsfanman:
    If Heisey is overrated, then Stubbs doesn’t even play well enough to be rated. Please, you need to do better than “Heisey is overrated” to show that Heisey is overrated.