With two weeks before the trade deadline, it’s rumor season. Here’s one from former Reds and Nationals GM, Jim Bowden:
The Reds are still looking to add a hitter, with Ben Zobrist of the Rays making a perfect match on paper given his positional flexibility and the club’s current injury situation. (Of course, the same could be said of several other clubs.) With Josh Willingham of the Twins set to hit free agency, he has also been looked at by Cincinnati. (Jeff Todd, MLBTR)
The Reds could be in the market for a 1B. Here’s a fairly comprehensive list compiled this morning at MLB Trade Rumors (Jeff Todd). It includes current starters, like Seattle’s Logan Morrison and the Rangers’ Carlos Peña; players who DH but also play 1B, like Adam Dunn of the White Sox and Chris Carter of the Astros; and “buy-low” reserve players, like John Mayberry, Jr. of the Phillies. Acquiring a player who could play 1B while Joey Votto remains out and then play the outfield after he returns, would be ideal. I’m going to put the name Lucas Duda (1B/OF) out there again, as an impact acquisition.
Aroldis Chapman tweaked his already sore hamstring at the All-Star game covering first base on the final out of the bottom of the eighth inning.
“I’m not 100 percent ready to run full speed,” Chapman said with D-backs catcher Miguel Montero translating. “I kind of hesitated a little bit and I just kind of took it easy to go to first.” Chapman first injured the hamstring July 6 in Cincinnati while in the outfield before a game against the Brewers. It hasn’t affected any of the five regular-season games he pitched before the All-Star break as he worked five scoreless innings with one hit, one walk, four saves and 13 strikeouts out of 18 batters faced. I will be fine,” Chapman said. “I’ve been pitching through it for a while. As long as I don’t have to run, it feels good to pitch.” (Mark Sheldon)
Two new articles analyze Alfredo Simon’s season. They both conclude what we’ve been saying for a while, that when you look under the hood, Simon is unlikely to continue his outstanding first-half.
Simon, however, does not allow materially less authoritative line drive and ground ball contact – after adjustment for context, he should be allowing basically MLB average production on those types of batted balls. Simon has been significantly aided both by luck and well above average team defense – particularly in the infield. … In the big picture, Simon is a letter-perfect fit for his club – a strikethrower who gets more than his share of ground balls, pitching in front of what may be the best infield defense in the game. What he is not, however, is a true-talent sub-3.00 ERA pitcher. This exact moment in time is very likely the pinnacle of Alfredo Simon’s major league career. (Tony Blengino, Fangraphs)
There’s another factor that calls Simon’s good fortune into question: his conversion from reliever to starter. In 2010, 2012, and 2013, he averaged a mere 1.1 innings per appearance, primarily coming out of the bullpen. In 2011 – the only season to date his ERA has been worse than his FIP – he started 16 games and relieved in only 7. Much of his past success with outperforming peripherals in the bullpen may be a result of his brief appearances, meaning that his low ERA and 12-3 record are even more a result of blind luck. A thin .232 BABIP certainly helps, too; he’s at a much more pedestrian .277 for his career. (Steven Silverman, Beyond the Box Score)
In his press conference at the All-Star Game in Minneapolis, Commissioner Bud Selig was asked if Pete Rose would be allowed to participate in the festivities in Cincinnati next summer. Selig said yes, but in a limited fashion.
“That’ll be up to the Cincinnati club, and they know what they can do and they can’t do,” Selig said. “They’ve been very good about that. We haven’t had that discussion.” How do you tell the story of baseball in Cincinnati or the story of the Cincinnati Reds without Rose? “You don’t,” Reds owner Bob Castellini told The Enquirer on Tuesday. “We plan on using him wherever Major League Baseball is comfortable with, but we’re certainly going to include him,” Castellini said. (C. Trent Rosecrans)
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.