This morning, Sam LeCure took to the Twitterverse and said this:

I wonder what my career would look like if the Reds had given me as long of a leash as they’ve given some people. Tough to swallow really.

He followed up with this:

I had great experiences/relationships there and I’ll never spend more time with a team than I did the Reds. And that’s why it sucks having this bad taste in my mouth after all the years of hard work and sacrifice I gave them. That’s life tho right?

Sam LeCure has every right to express his opinion, privately and in public. If you follow his Twitter feed, you know he’s not shy about it. I loved watching LeCure pitch, succeeding with guile where others had 100 mph fastballs. And I’m certainly not saying the Reds organization is beyond criticism.

But there are two problems with the views Sam LeCure expressed today:

(1) LeCure was paid $4.4 million dollars by the Reds over six seasons. That may not be a lot of money in comparison to what other professional baseball players make, but that’s a life-changing sum for most of us. All those “years of hard work and sacrifice” weren’t uncompensated. His description of his relationship with the Reds as a “sacrifice” on his part strikes me as a gross lack of perspective.

(2) I wonder what Sam LeCure, the active baseball player, would have thought of a former Reds player carping publicly about the team he was playing on, or by inference a specific teammate, especially one who was struggling. That Sam LeCure would have been the first one to defend his teammate and team and denounce the piling on and squawking from the cheap seats.

LeCure has already deleted the first tweet. So he gets it. Thought this would give Redleg Nation another interesting topic to discuss while we’re trying to forget the past two nights.

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.

Join the conversation! 69 Comments

  1. I hate when athletes do stuff like this and ruin the memories I had of them in my head.

    • I do too. But, I don’t “twit”, or “facebook”, or whatever…but I do come here, and it’s little pieces like this that makes Redleg Nation so great. It’s really only here that a true Reds fan can get an honest, objective perspective on what’s actually going on.

      • That’s what we aim for, even if some folks don’t agree. Thanks, WildWest!

  2. Would Sam be any worse than the train wreck we now have in the bullpen? This bullpen makes me long for Logan Ondrusek.

  3. Sam is probably wondering what the hades is going on that they running Hoover out to the mound to get bashed. It is unfortunate that he personalized in the way he did.

    • He didn’t personalize anything. He could be speaking about 4-5 different guys in the bullpen.

      • True, he didn’t name a name but In wouldn’t bet the 1st nickel in my pocket that he wasn’t referring to Hoover.

        There is often a very specific history behind such outbursts; and, Hoover is about only contemporary of LeCure who might have been involved in some kind of situation with him.

        • So…he didn’t personalize it, right?

          • Depends on what one means by personalized. To me the personalization was that LeCure expressed the thought that others were being given a much longer leash than he ever was. What is was really saying was “I wish I’d been given this much of a chance”. That’s personalizing things.

    • Saying he wasn’t given as long of a leash as others is far from the definition of “Personalized”. (Personalized: To make personal or individual; specially)

      He didn’t even say it specifically about the 2016 team. There was Kevin Gregg, Manny Parra, Jason Marquis, Carlos Contreras, David Holmberg and Burke Badenhop that the club kept with way too long last year. And Jumbo Diaz and Hoover last year AND this year.

      • He internally personalized that because others appear to now being given a longer leash than he was that he had been treated unfairly (the “bad taste” he refers to).

        Check VegasTypo’s comment on down the thread. That catches the essence as i see.

        In the second tweet he does infer that his gripe is with management and not fellow players (the talk about great relationships and experiences but…..)

      • Arguing about the definition of “personalize” seems like a great use of time.

  4. I loved Sammy and Dusty actually used him very well but he’s off base. His fastball was down to 85-86? Nobody can pitch in the bigs with that? There is nothing to fix when you’re in your 30s already and can’t put any mustard on the ball? The Reds had no choice with him and weren’t his #s ugly in Lville too? He was nails for the Reds for several years with the backup 92 mph fastball and good breaking stuff but that was then.

    • You wouldn’t take his 3.15 ERA with the Reds last year right now? That was also with his 87 mph fastball. Weird that Arroyo and Maddux come to mind when thinking of just a few that could barely hit 85. They seemed to workout pretty well.

      • Shawn, everyone would take a 3.15 era from him, the fact is, those were extremely small numbers, and spring training with AZ supports the Reds, as does the fact that the Dodgers have him languishing in AAA. Comparing him to Arroyo and Maddux, is clearly a stretch, and they are two aberrations.

    • I think Jamie Moyer would disagree. It’s all about location and keeping hitters off balance.

      • Maddux threw 91 and had movement like crazy…..Moyer was the proverbial crafty lefty…..cmon people you’re better than that?

      • I agree that 95mph stuff isn’t the only template for success, but Sam had become ineffective. He’s comparing apples and oranges, too: this year’s bullpen is so depleted that the Reds have little choice about the length of the leashes.

  5. Professional sports is kind of cruel by nature. One year, one season, you’re on top, and everybody thinks you’re the greatest guy on the planet. You get a little older, slower, something goes away, and all of a sudden you’re a loser, a no good.
    Guys lose it in baseball all the time. Some guys never had it. I can think of a slew of pitchers that at one time looked great, but then got broken physically. When orthopedic surgery was not what it is today.
    Wayne Simpson always comes to mind. People thought he was going to be the next Bob Gibson when he came up. And he might have been, if Sparky hadn’t over-used a young pitcher in a 4 man rotation.

  6. I completely disagree. Nothing thay he said was inaccurate or wrong. Did the Reds have a shorter leash with LeCure than they’ve had with Hoover and Diaz? Without a doubt. Even when LeCure came up last year he posted a very respectable 3.15 ERA. Who wouldn’t want that in this bullpen?

    Also, he never said he wasn’t compensated. That’s like saying the men and women in the military shouldn’t say that they sacrifice anything because they too are compensated.

    • What are you talking about? Hoover had an incredible year last year. Diaz hits about 100 mph, so of course there is a longer leash for him. One could argue that Diaz didn’t have the same opportunity from the start that LeCure did, since he was 30 by the time he finally got a shot. I also noticed you were quick to post the 3.15 era from LeCure last year in September, but you ignored his monster high era that he posted in Louisville during the whole year.

      • I didn’t mention his ERA in Louisville because it doesn’t matter. If I know what a player is capable of when he had spent 6 years with a team, I’m not worried about his numbers in AAA because they are generally working on mechanics and working on new things. They aren’t worried about numbers.

        And if Diaz “hadn’t gotten the same leash as LeCure” thales that is because everyone already saw what he was. And he hasn’t proved anyone wrong for not “getting a shot until he was 30.” Diaz bounced from the Dodgers, to the Rangers, to the Orioles, then to the Pirates before finally coming to the Reds. He didn’t prove anything to anyone.

        • Sam, it’s good of you to take the time to post on Redleg Nation.

        • Shawn, you ignored the obvious. Why is LeCure in AAA with the Dodger organization? Why did he get cut by AZ this spring? You tell me where, and how the Reds made a bad decision by letting him move along? And one more thing, to suggest that a LeCure being sent to AAA at the start of the season last year, and that those numbers were meaningless FOR A WHOLE YEAR, is laughable. I believe he was told to go down there, and get his game together, and he wasn’t able to.

  7. Talking about long leashes, don’t look at Hoover’s ERA now…

  8. When the Reds had Lecure, there were hopes of the postseason They couldn’t stay with struggling pitchers as long because they were trying to contend. Next man up. …..

    Now, this season really is all about who can perform and who cannot, not about who is going to push the Reds into the postseason. If that means longer ‘auditions’ these days, so be it. It’s more frustrating with Hoover, however, because he has had these periods of terrible results in the past.

    Sam can say what he wants. Time changes.

    • Sam can say what he wants. Time changes.

      Exactly

    • Longer auditions by a guy that made his MLB debut at the age of 30 and is also older than LeCure? Or how about longer auditions by 33 year old Ross Ohlendorf? Or we can always call up 32 year of Ryan Matheus for another extended audition. And definitely keep the washed up 34 year old Simon audition going on.

      • What leash. Diaz has been sent down twice in the last 1.1 seasons.

      • Simon’s audition has scarcely been excessive, and he still shows evidence of being able to throw the ball.

    • There you have it. If Sam was part of this dumpster fire this year, he would probably have a longer leash too out of necessity.

      Cant compare previous years to this one. Just cant.

    • “I have been known on occasion to howl at the moon.” – Crash Davis

  9. I sympathize with guys like SamLeCure who might have a bit of a chip on their shoulder as they watch guys with golden arms blow away hitters while they have to scratch and claw for every little scrap. It’s the same chip that late round draft pick guys carry as they have to wait for a prospect drafted above them to fail/get injured before they can get their turn at every level.

    Sam has a point watching this Reds bullpen flail, but last year (and the year before) when the Reds were “contending”? I don’t think so. Sam was a marginal starter who carved out a successful role as a middle of the bullpen guy (top end during his best years) and ended up at the bottom. Those are some of the first guys to be sent packing when they struggle. They have no upside and the role used to be perfect to let some prospect pitcher get his feet wet.

    • Like the 30 year old rookie named Jumbo Diaz that is now older than LeCure but still has a longer leash and less talent? There’s no upside for Diaz at his age and his nin-stop struggles.

      • That’s precisely where you are wrong. No one in the game would suggest that LeCure has more talent than Diaz at this point. Secondly, Diaz throws about 15 mph faster than LeCure. You need to take your emotions out of this argument. Tell us, if LeCure is so good, why did he pitch so bad in spring? Why did he get cut by AZ, and why is he in AAA right now?

        • Bingo. LeCure’s physical skills are eroding and he didn’t do enough to warrant a major league roster spot.

          Whether he’s “better” than anyone on the current roster is inconsequential. LeCure was out of line with what he said and he comes across as a petty, spoiled brat. Good riddance.

      • Why do you think Diaz has a long leash. He has been sent down twice in 1.1 seasons. Stop making things up.

  10. I always liked the grit Sam LeCure showed coming in from the bullpen, especially in 2012 when Cueto went down in S.F. in game one of the playoffs. Every player has a rough road to make it to the major leagues, and when the talent is on the downturn it’s not easy. And I’m sorry to hear of sour grapes toward the Reds.

  11. Sam had some good years for us. I remember well when he came up and grabbed the moment with some excellent starts. But he soon faced the misfortune of arriving just about when Cueto did. Cueto, of course, beat him out. Sam, to his credit, seized the bullpen role. Loved to watch him pitch!

    Unfortunately, his fastball no longer is what it once was. That and his age mean he is not needed by a team in transition. His declining velocity has given other teams pause as well.

    Both he and Cueto are now gone. The Reds are clearing the paths for a new generation.

    Sam, we love you and will always see you as a Red. We will simply pretend your remarks just do not exist.

  12. I’m conflicted on this one. I don’t think talking bad about your former team in a public forum is really ever a good idea. It burns bridges, alienates fans, and doesn’t really accomplish anything.

    However, I always felt like there was something weird about how LeCure was dealt with, and this just makes me more sure of it. I think there must have been something personal between him and the organization, because after being legitimately good for years they really did kick him to the curb quickly. (I say legitimately good because his success wasn’t smoke and mirrors like Hoover’s, his FIP and xFIP numbers were always in line with his ERA).

    LeCure always seemed like a good guy, and my gut says that he wouldn’t have gone public with his sour grapes if there wasn’t more to this story.

  13. Sam LeCure got a fair shake with the Reds. He should complain about the Dodgers and Diamonbscks who each did not give him more than 2 weeks this Spring.

  14. Sam got a fair shake but it makes a good point. Ondrusek definitely comes to mind.

  15. I have always been a Sam LeCure fan, for the same reasons you mentioned in your write up. Having said that, I’m perplexed as to what LeCure thinks he’s achieving with this. The Reds do SO MANY things wrong, but honestly, their dealings with LeCure are spot on. If one disagrees, they need only look to the results of LeCure’s last season, mostly in AAA, and this season so far, having been cut near the end of spring training, and now in AAA with the Dodger organization. What exactly is he suggesting the Red’s should have done for him?

  16. I got a different take or at least a possible different perspective from LeCure’s comments. I got the distinct impression that LeCure was referencing his early call up as a starter and conversion to a reliever after limited opportunity to prove himself as a starter. I don’t get the impression that he is referencing any other specific pitcher as having longer leash, just that he did not have sufficient opportunity to prove himself capable.

    It’s possible that he harbors resentment that other specific pitchers had more opportunity than he had to prove himself. There have certainly been sufficient examples of such circumstances as both starters and relievers, but I just don’t feel that LeCure has any specific targets in mind with his comments.

    • I was about to post the same thing. He probably wanted a longer leash to try to be a starter.
      I loved Sam. But when he lost just a few MPH off his fastball, he couldn’t keep guys off the breaking ball. Guile and guts plus a 90 MPH fastball worked in relief; guile and guts and 87 MPH and it was all over.

  17. Right on Steve, Sam’s tweets in own words are “tough to swallow really.”

  18. Losing your career is never an easy thing. I’m sure what Sam LeCure feels is exactly what lots of mlb relievers feel at the end of the line, especially when he saw people that had more talent not really work that hard to do much with it and get plenty of opportunities, while he might have really maxxed what he could do with the arm he had and as soon as he slid a bit he was back in AAA.

    Hoover, Ondrusek and others were allowed to try to figure it back out in the bigs where LeCure after four solid years in the pen a bad last six weeks of a season and spring training – he was back in AAA. My guess that might be his gripe.

    Big difference now is that with social media and people and the lure people know what you think takes over, when it might be best to keep some stuff like this between yourself and your friends and family.

    Don’t think any different about Sam LeCure myself either way. He was a pro athlete like his team mates Ryan Hanigan and Bronson Arroyo that pretty much got the max out of their abilities and for a while was a very productive reliever. LeCure was one of the steadiest hands of those two playoff clubs coming out of the pen, that will never change.

  19. Sam, great point. You only get that leash if walt signed you directly and overpaid you. Then, it doesn’t matter if you’re last team cut you in the final days of spring training for not being effective. Just come to cincy, get promoted over everybody else who busted their butt, and get a leash a mile long. Sam is right. So before everybody jumps on sam, he’s speaking out of love for this city and team.

    The author is wrong. First off his
    salary has nothing to do with anything. So that was stupid. This city gets caught up with what somebody is making instead of getting to know the player. Also i cant relate to 4 million so just leave it alone. Second, he was mr everything down there in the pen. He was released in favor of kevin greg for christ sakes. What he said is what any true fan is thinking. Not some lapdog who cant see life in reality.

    • LeCure was horrible at Louisville in 2015, yet the Reds brought him up late in the season. He also pitched poorly in 2014, and the Reds stuck with him.

      And what major league team is he pitching for now ?

      The disappointed fans are lapdogs who can’t see life in reality ? Really ?

  20. Every pitcher encounters the time where their arm can’t deliver the goods any more. Clearly the Reds valued hard throwing talent with potential more than a vet with a mid-80s heater. Can you blame them? Unless your name is Maddux or Tudor, your 85 mile an hour FB is going to get pasted.

    Still – to send out that clown car of a bullpen last year with no LeCure? Odd.

    • As of 2015, LeCure could not get major league hitters out any more. He couldn’t get AAA hitters out either. It couldn’t be more simple.

      • The problem re: his perspective is that neither could anyone else in the pen.

  21. LeCure’s bitterness is shocking to me. The Reds gave him a very “long leash”. In 2015 they brought him up late in the season after he’d been terrible at AAA. In 2014 they stuck with him through a bad season.

    But the most galling part is that his criticism obviously included Price, who was his pitching coach when he debuted in the majors in 2010 and from 2011 thru 2013, the 3 best years of his career.

    Price’s statement showed remarkable restraint, under the circumstances.

  22. Sam was always one of my favorites. Sneaky back door fastball that froze hitters. Loved watching him. Great person on and off the field. That being said, I would take LeCure right now over some in that BP.

  23. He’s got a point. I felt like he got the short end of the stick last year. He was better than half the bullpen last year and better than the whole pen this year.

    • At his best, yes, but not anymore. The guy who is losing it is often the last to know, probably in any field. “I’m still the same guy I was…this is just a rough patch…”

  24. Agreed. Lecure has little defense. He was compensated for what he did. He lost it, wasn’t successful anymore. So, we let him go. It’s not hard to understand. Hoover, though difficulties this year, did have a good season last year. So, as far as I’m concerned, I have no problem giving Hoover what shot he had.

    What I will say is I do disagree with how Price has used the pen a bit. For instance, prior to last night, it seemed like to me that Price would take Cingrani out for the 9th, even though he got out of the 8th. Now, yes, with the batting, if we had a minimal lead, and the pitcher coming up, there would have been a pinch hitter, yes. But, without that batting aspect, I believe Price would have still taken Cingrani out for the 9th, again, prior to last night. And, it hasn’t only been with Cingrani but all the pen, whether they are successful or not. Price has got to watch that. I mean, Cingrani is better than a LOOGY, I believe.

    • The odds part is that he worked out with Hoover in the offseason last year at GABP.

      I think Sam needs to realize Hoovers issue is mental, whereas Lecure was hitting low 80s on his fastball.

  25. This is just a case of social media and how easy of an outlet it is when a person has a complaint or feels, even for a few minutes, that someone has wronged them. Social media makes it easy for someone with a fleeting thought to go public to a wide audience with that thought. The bad part is, whereas if you just say it to a few of your friends or whatever and it likely doesn’t leak out, with social media you’ve announced it to everyone. In addition, even if you delete it, once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.

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About Steve Mancuso

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.

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