The All Star break may be over, but there’s still a trophy up for grabs this weekend in the Queen City. Granted, the Reds can’t actually win the Ohio Cup, only a share of it after being swept by the Indians back in May, but it’s still going to be awarded. When it is, just keep in mind that the Toddfather already brought home the Queen City’s 2015 hardware.
Regardless, the Reds’ storylines for the second half of the season really have nothing to do with the product on the field. Exactly two weeks from today is the non-tendered trade deadline, so expect the Reds to make at least one big move in the next fortnight. Either Johnny Cueto or Mike Leake will be moved, that much seems certain, it’s the rest of the fire sale that might end up as smoke and mirrors. It’s never a good feeling for a city when the excitement of postseason baseball moves to July; it’s worse when you realize the opponent is your own front office.
All stats are 2015 actuals:
Mike Leake 2015 ERA: 4.08
3g from 5/16 – 5/27: 12.86 ERA
Rest of 2015: 2.86 ERA
Only takes a couple starts to make a half-season look bad.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) July 17, 2015
Mike Leake wasn’t quite himself this first half of 2015, but as Joel Luckhaupt pointed out earlier today, it was mostly due to three bad starts. Fangraphs has the righty with a 3.57 xFIP for the rest of the season, which is actually better than his career numbers. That being said, any production out of Leake for the remainder of the season probably won’t be in Cincinnati, but his trade value hasn’t tanked as much as people might think.
Opposite of Leake, Trevor Bauer is expected to regress in the second half of the season to the tune of a 4.11 xFIP as per Fangraphs. Bauer’s been a consistent starter all year for the Tribe, with two disaster starts but mostly quality starts in between. In his last time out before the break, Bauer went 8.0 innings, yielding two runs to the Astros while striking out nine. Against the Reds back in May, Bauer spun 7.2 innings of one-run ball taking the win in Cleveland.
The Reds’ lineup post-All Star break has no significant changes to their pre-All Star break usual:
Yan Gomes is off the DL this time around and in the Indians’ lineup:
#reds recall Jumbo Diaz, option Contreras to Louisville.
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) July 17, 2015
BETTER BUY BARBASOL
Because the hat and ‘stache on the Scripps building are coming down despite a petition to leave them up. The coverings were never meant to be permanent, and were unlikely to last past the winter if left up anyway.
WALT OUT IN THE WILD
Per Paul Daugherty, Reds GM Walt Jocketty will be handling the Reds’ trade deadline business from his condominium in Jupiter, FL. The big pull quote from Jocketty himself in defense of this bizarre strategic decision centers on the lack of distractions in Florida. Namely, “he said sometimes being away from the office is what’s best for him, ‘because you’re not influenced by people around the club.'”
Wouldn't want to be "influenced by people around the club" like your analytics department. What would they know? https://t.co/MGydOzs67g
— Steve Mancuso (@spmancuso) July 17, 2015
RLN WRITERS OUT IN THE WILD
Two Redleg Nation writers had big pieces published elsewhere today:
–Founder Chad Dotson’s piece on Todd Frazier and his status as Cincinnati’s “favorite son” ran on ESPN’s Sweetspot network.
–Longtime writer Richard Fitch’s take on Marty Brennaman and his evolution as a broadcaster and personality over the years was published on The Caldron’s website.
RLN WRITERS HERE AT HOME
Plenty of good pieces were published this morning right here at Redleg Nation too:
–Kevin Michell’s thought experiment on what the Reds mayÃ‚Â look like in two years if all the players with expiring contracts walked and the farm system took over. Animal Farm with less symbolism and more baseball, basically.
–Nick Carrington on the front office’s unwillingness to move both Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier, possibly handicapping the team for seasons to come.
–Michael Maffie on the effect of reply on ejections and if one unique artform if you will has been lost to the game due to technology.
TICKETS AND TRAVELÃ‚Â
Whenever I begin to think of how the future of the Reds hangs on these next couple of weeks, the phrase “so much depends upon” invariably comes to my mind. Of course, that takes my English major brain to William Carlos Williams icon poem “The Red Wheelbarrow.” I won’t explicate a poem here, but much like the red wheelbarrow and white chickens, there’s much more to these next two weeks than what is there on paper. If the Reds want to have a lasting impact on this league over the next decade, these two weeks will be the laying of the cornerstone–or the pivot wheel if you will.