Let’s recap tonight’s titanic struggle…. FINAL Houston Cincinnati 8 WP: Leake (1-0) LP: Happ (0-1) BOXSCORE POSITIVES –A solid start by Mike Leake, who gave up two runs on three hits in six innings. Leake struck out four and walked two. Really nice outing. –Chris Heisey went 1-2 with a walk, an HBP, and three […]

December 8, 1987: Four years and one day after making him the Reds first big free agent acquisition, the Reds trade outfielder Dave Parker to the Oakland A’s for starting pitcher and future Reds ace Jose Rijo and reliever Tim Birtsas.

Parker’s best Reds season had come in 1985 when he finished second in MVP balloting after hitting .312 with 34 home runs and 125 rbi, 42 doubles, a .551 SLP, and a .916 OPS (149 OPS+). He led the league in rbi, doubles, total bases, and intentional walks. He finished fifth in MVP voting in 1986 when he hit .273 with 31 home runs and 116 rbi, again leading the league in total bases, but his OPS+ slipped to 117 (OPS was .807). He slipped a little more in 1987 when he hit .253 with 26 homers, 97 rbi, and a .744 OPS (92 OPS+) and his defensive performance had also been declining now that he was 36 years old.

Parker still had a few more productive years remaining and finished 11th in MVP voting in the American League while with the Oakland A’s in 1989 (.264/22/97 with .741 OPS) and 16th in MVP votes with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1990 (.289/21/92 with .781 OPS). His final season came in 1991.

The Reds had young outfielders in place ready to replace Parker, namely Kal Daniels, Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill, and Tracy Jones. All the outfield prospects were at least a decade younger than Parker and all were talented players.

For Parker, the Reds received their next ace pitcher in Jose Rijo. Rijo had reached the majors at age 19 with the New York Yankees in 1984, but had struggled in his first four major league seasons, going 19-30 with a 4.75 ERA (83 ERA+) with the Yankees and Oakland A’s before joining the Reds.
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December 7, 1983: The Reds signed their first “major” free agent of the free agency period when they signed Dave Parker to to a three-year contract.

While with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Parker was one of baseball’s biggest superstars of the late 1970’s. Parker won the MVP for the Pirates in 1978 when he hit .334 with 20 homers, 32 doubles, 12 triples, and a 117 rbi. He led the league with a .585 SLP, a .979 OPS, and a 166 OPS+. Parker had finished third in MVP voting in both 1975 and 1977 while receiving MVP votes for five consecutive years from 1975-79. As a right fielder, Parker was known for his powerful arm and won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 1977-79.

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In my (admittedly biased) opinion, it is a crime that Barry Larkin was not elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame last year, in his first year on the ballot. His second go-round is at hand, as the 2011 ballot was released to members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Monday. Mark […]

Look! It’s a whole mess o’ links, direct from the home office in Cincinnati, Iowa (population 428): –C. Trent interviewed Bill James, and part one of that interview is here. It’s great stuff, particularly when James talked about how much he loves…wait for it…Paul Janish! –Jonny Gomes has had a great spring, but Dusty Baker […]

Summarizing our Redleg Trade Review (for all stories, type this in the search window in the upper right portion of your screen). Here’s what I think are the best Reds trades ever.

1. November 29, 1971: Joe Morgan is traded by the Houston Astros with Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo and Denis Menke to the Cincinnati Reds for Tommy Helms, Lee May and Jimmy Stewart. The trade that kick started the Big Red Machine and brought us Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.

2. June 13, 1938: Bucky Walters was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds for Spud Davis, Al Hollingsworth and $50,000. Bucky Walters becomes the best pitcher in the National League, winning an MVP (there’s was no Cy Young Award) and the Reds win two National League championships and win one World Series.

3. February 19, 1919…. Reds traded 1b Hal Chase to Giants for C Bill Rariden and 1B Walter Holke. Trading the bedeviled Chase away from the Reds probably made way for their 1919 World Series victory and kept them from being the team that may have thrown the Series.
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December 8, 1987: Jose Rijo is traded by the Oakland Athletics with Tim Birtsas to the Cincinnati Reds for Dave Parker

Jose Rijo is one of the most popular Reds of all time and deservedly so.

He was an excellent ballplayer, produced excellent results, was a post season hero, was loyal to the Reds, and played the game with fun…including the fans when possible.

His overall counting stats are diminished by injuries and the change in baseball strategy with the increased use of the bullpen. What’s hard to believe is that two teams had literally given up on him at the time of his acquisition at age 22.

Rijo signed with the Yankees at age 15 and roared through the minors, even pitching 200 innings in a questionable management move at age 18. He was in the majors at age 19, but faltered in the big leagues when he went 2-8, 4.76 ERA, in 24 games with the Yankees. That fall he was traded (along with Birtsas) to the Oakland A’s for future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson In three years with the A’s, Rijo went 17-22 with a 4.74 ERA. His final year year in Oakland was 2-7 with a 5.90 ERA, but the previous year he struck out 176 batters in 193 innings at age 21. That’s what the Reds noticed.

So, new Reds GM Murray Cook makes his second important pitching acquisition in about five weeks on the job. Continue reading