The Reds sent ten batters to the plate in the first inning and scored four times to beat the defending World Champion Phillies. Checking the box score the Reds had 10 runs, 10 hits, and 10 rbi's. My pick for this years Reds MVP, Joey Votto was 2-2 including a home run in the second inning. I can see myself over paying for Joey in my upcoming fantasy draft for sure. Bronson Arroyo started the game and went two innings giving up two hits and one run while fanning none.
Micah Owings looked good going 3 scoreless with 2 Ks put the bullpen let him down in a big way with Francisco Cordero getting his first action after coming off ankle surgery. Not much going on with the bats except a hit, RBI, and run by big time 3b prospect Ben Francisco.
Cueto and Volquez each looked good going 3 scoreless innings yesterday. Homer Bailey pitched a scoreless inning with 2 Ks. Today, fellow 5th starter candidate Micah Owings pitched 3 scoreless. Nice start by the starters and possible starters.
The Reds kicked off their final Spring Training in Florida with a 7-0 win over the defending American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays. Listening to Marty call the first two innings on my way to work made me long to be there as he reported from a warm 74 degree and sunny day in Florida. How much better could it get, warm sunny Florida weather and baseball baby.
The big hit of the day came off the bat of Jerry Hairston, as he hit a grand slam off of Rays left-hander Randy Choate. Again when Jerry is in the lineup the Reds always have a better chance to win. Dusty Baker's lineup today looks to be built for speed and power. At the top of the order Willy Taveras and Hairston can both put up big stolen base numbers and then the next three guys all have pretty fair power to drive runs in. Dusty batted Votto, Phillips and Bruce in the 3-4-5 holes. I like the top five VERY much and after today you should too. Even though Hariston was the power guy today, look for him to set the table more than he clears the dishes.
The pitching was outstanding as well as Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto both threw three scoreless innings and also added 3 K's apiece. Homer Bailey, vying for the fifth spot in the rotation also added a scoreless inning with 2 K's.
This is part two of the scam of Seattle signing Ken Griffey Jr. As more information is being released about Griffey's contract we now know that it's truly about him putting asses in the seats. No more no less.
Jr. has a base of two million but if he stays healthy and goes on the six o'clock news and asks fans that have lost their jobs to please come to the ball park, well he stands to gain another three million. Anyone that doesn't think the Mariners are just using his star power as a way to hide the fact they haven't really improved their team has maybe had a little too many Starbucks. Seattle drew their worse home attendance ever in Safeco Field last year. The magic number for Griffey to max out his contract is three million paid and him staying healthy enough to have 500 plate appearances. The Mariners are even thinking that Griffey will actually pay for himself. So when you Seattle fans go up to the ticket window and they ask you for cash, maybe you should ask the clerk, "what happened to Griffey paying for himself."
This isn't the first time that a club has tried to play on the heart strings of it's fan base and it won't be the last. I just hate it when a GM says this is based on baseball reasons. Seattle Gm Jack Zduriencik also stated this is based on him believing Jr is healthy and that Seattle needs a left handed slugger. Does he also believe in time travel......fifteen years ago I might have bought this. Armstrong does know what he is doing though as the fans have bought into seeing their hero come back home. Tickets sales for the first two days after Griffey signed has been ten times what they were averaging before he signed. Looks like asses will be in the seats and Griffey will get paid.
Again I am a big Ken Griffey Jr fan and wish 'The Kid' the best. Oh no, did I say The Kid......Well "Back To The Future" was a favorite movie of mine. I'll get off my soap box now and move foward.....Good Luck Griff
With the Reds still looking for a 5th starter in the rotation, how about Micah Owings. Owings came over from the D-Backs in the Adam Dunn trade as the "player to be named later". That might prove to be a big time get for the Reds. In 2008, he was only 6-9 with a lofty 5.93 ERA in only his 2nd year of big league action. In 2007, he was 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA for Arizona. In March and April of 2008, he started 4-0 with a 3.48 ERA before having a disasterous June and July. He only had 3 appearances after the all-star break and saw most of his action for the Reds as a pinch-hitter. Yep, this dude can hit. I chalk up most of his trouble in June and July to injury. Hopefully, he can find what led him to a quick start in 2008. Spring should be fun in Reds camp.
Let me start this off by saying that this isn't sour grapes because my Cincinnati Reds didn't think it was in their best interest to resign Griffey. Make no mistake I am a homer and I am proud of it. In a perfect world the Reds would have drafted him and he would have spent his whole career in a Reds uniform. Who ever said baseball was perfect....well to me the game itself is still perfect and always will be, at least in my eyes it will be. The things that go with game leave a little to be desired for sure. I am not going into the steroids here and yes deep down in my heart Ken Griffey Jr. did it the right way and was a clean player.
Today I want to look at the reason he went back to Seattle. We can all say yeah Jr proved you can go back home...that's so much BS. Griffey will not be in Seattle to lead this team to the playoffs in 2009. As much as I love this future Hall of Famer his production has fallen off way too much for that to happen. And let's face reality here, when you get past the age of 37, 38 or 39 your production IS suppose to decline. All steroids users please take note of this fact. The simple truth of the matter is that the Seattle Mariners signed Griffey because they are too cheap to go out and sign some good free agents to try to get back to the post season. Seattle's signing of Griffey was no more than a scam to sell tickets. Yeah it's a feel good story as well, but this team will make millions from this signing and still be on the outside looking in come October. If Seattle fans just want to feel good they get their wish with this signing. If they are hungry to get back to the playoffs they should feel insulted and used by the management of the Mariners. This is probably a one year deal here and maybe next off season they sign someone that can actually help their ball club and not their bottom line. Yes, it's ALWAYS about the money and once again this signing proves that.
With all this said I still wish Griffey all the luck in the world. Sometimes scams can turn into feel good stories!!!!!
It looks like the only 100% sure posistion up for battle during spring training is the 5th starter in the rotation. One option is former Reds #1 pick and once to be thought as a "sure thing" Homer Bailey. I saw Homer in the Futures game in Pittsburgh several years ago and he was exciting with a 95+ mph fastball but it's been well documented that his attitude towards instruction from coaches and teammates alike, has stunted his growth as a big league pitcher. Homer stunk it up last season. He was 0-6 with a 7.93 ERA with 18 SO/17 BB. NOT GOOD.
I'm certainly no expert, but in watching Homer a lot in Louisville, he demeanor on the mound looks questionable. He just doesn't look confident and doesn't look to have that mean streak of fellow Texans Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens. It sometimes looks as though he's thinking about IF he'll get hitters out instead of KNOWING. I've seen him with way too many counts in his favor and then give up a big hit. He just doesn't seem to have that putaway pitch.
In a move I figured may be coming soon, Dusty said on MLB.com that the Reds would consider moving Homer to the bullpen as a long reliever if his struggles as a starter continued. Homer still has some minor league options open so it's possible that we'll see him back in Louisville where he looks very unhappy. Hopefully, Homer will dominate this spring, find that putaway pitch, and be in the Reds rotation on opening day.
The Hit King has finally come out with his take on the A-Rod mess. First he said he really thought A-Rod was one of the clean players. Myself I agreed, as did most other baseball fans who were disappointed when they heard this sad news. Pete also said, in typical Pete Rose fashion, that if he had taken steroids he would have had at least 5,000 hits. Like he always said, if you can back it up it isn't bragging. Is it bragging if you need steroids to get there. A-Rod spoke of the pressure he was under after signing the biggest contract in baseball history. How does signing a 250 million dollar contract relate to pressure. I think the folks losing their jobs and worrying about feeding their kids and paying the mortgage are facing more pressure than A-Rod.
Does the fact that Ken Griffey Jr. lost so much time to the injury bug show more that he did it the right way. How many players said they took the roids to come back from injuries quicker. I have to believe Jr. is clean.
A-Rod still has nine years left on his current contract. If he plays it out and then waits another five years before he is eligible to be put on the Hall of Fame ballot, well that's fourteen years from now. Fourteen years from now how many writers from today will still be writing, very few most likely. So I still think Cooperstown is where A-Rod is still going to end up. And like they say time heals all......unless your name is Pete Rose that is.
Well this is the day that true baseball fans have been waiting for sense the last out of the World Series. The pitchers and catchers have reported to Sarasota Florida and Manager Dusty Baker said he was well pleased in the attitude of the young pitchers after the first workout was completed. Dusty was also impressed at the condition of his pitchers and catchers and was fired up to get this season started.
As in most sports the only thing constant is change and the Reds are no exception. If you look at the current Reds pitchers who reported you will find only three that were here at the start of Spring Training in 2006. Staff ace Aaron Harang, along with the back end of this years rotation, we hope, Homer Bailey and set up man David Weathers. Bronson Arroyo didn't show up until camp was well under way that spring. Yes the staff has seen plenty of change and I think for the better. I am so looking forward to seeing Harang bounce back from a season that saw him fall on tough times with almost no run support. Bronson had a very nice second half and everyone thinks he is lined up for a full season of great baseball with another 200 plus innings pitched. Edinson Volquez had a great first half last season and had people whispering Cy Young and his name in the same sentence. He can bring it baby. Johnny Cueto had his ups and downs, but with another years experience look for a step forward for this young talent this year. Homer Bailey is still well Homer Bailey. And yes big things are still expected of him. Control was a major problem and again another year should show improvement for this fireballer.
Yes, I am a big time Cincinnati Reds fan and some of this comes from the heart, but this pitching staff could really be something special this year and that is from what these guys have shown in the past and what I really think they will serve up in 2009. PLAY BALL!!!!!!!!!
Ex-Red home run hitter and outfield stumbler Adam Dunn signed a big deal with the Washington Nationals today. Dunn will get a 2 year-$20 million deal. Dunn is only 29 years old and has hit at least 40 homers in five straight season. Dunn is a good on-base guy even though he strikes out a ton. He's a lifetime .247 hitter.
I was listening to JT 'The Brick' on my ride home from work tonight and as last night he was still ripping A-Rod, nothing new here. It seems everyone is throwing their jabs at A-Rod the past couple of days and JT is really pouring it on still tonight. He is one of the biggest New York Yankee fans you will ever hear on the air, hell he evens lives in the LA area but is still a Yankee lover. He opened his show last night with maybe the best monologue I have ever heard on sports talk radio. He called A-Rod a cheat a liar and a fraud to mention a few. He says he will never be believed again or will he make the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Tonight he was still ranting and raving over his disappointment in A-Rod. But what caught my attention was his support for Pete Rose. JT thinks what Pete did is nothing compared to what so many of today's players are doing with these performance enhancing drugs. The Brick said it's time for Bud Selig to step down, and I TOTALLY agree here. He says because all this steroid stuff happened on his watch that he needs to step aside and take the baseball union head with him as well. With a totally clean house he thinks Pete Rose might get a fair shake and have the chance to finally get on the Hall of Fame ballot. I hope Selig gets so much pressure he bows out and baseball gets an opened mind commissioner that will take a fresh look at Rose. Pete is no saint for sure, but his hits were legit......something we can't say for many of today's players.
If you are a reader of our blog please leave your opinion here......Has enough time elapsed for Rose to be looked at again. I say Hell Yes.
My least favorite Red, Edwin Enarnarcion is asking the Reds for $3.7 million. The Reds currently have offered $2.55 million. This might be a big problem as they may head towards arbitration. Edwin batted .251/26 and only 68 RBI last season. The last three years, he's had 25, 16, and 23 errors. Hey Edwin, I'd pay you 50 bucks not to throw the ball into center field more than 5 times this season.
In a move that tells me the Reds aren't completely sold that Chris Dickerson can be the everyday left fielder, the Reds signed veteran outfielders Daryle Ward and Jacque Jones. Jones batted a cool .147 last season in 42 games. In 2006 though, Jones at 27 homers and is a lifetime .277 hitter. Daryle Ward is primarily a pinch hitter but may also play some first as a back up to Votto.
There are quite a few Reds in trying out for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. I hope those arms are well taken care of. On team Canada, Joey Votto will split time at 1st and DH with Justin Morneau. For the Dominican, Edison Volequez, Johnny Cueto, and Francisco Cordero will throw and Willy Taveras and utility man Wilken Castillo will try to make the team. Catcher Ramon Hernandez will play for Venezuela and Jerry Hariston Jr. will play for Mexico. There are also quite a few minor leaguers trying to make a squad. One to watch, is big time Reds prospect pitcher Kyle Lotzkar who will pitch for Canada. It'll be worth watching what he'll do against the best hitters in the world.
Looks like one of the best backup catchers/pitch hitters in recent Reds history is going to the Washington Nationals. The Nationals signed Javy to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. This probably isn't big news to the average Reds fan but I can remember a few walk off game winning hits from this guy. I have seen him smash game winning home runs more than once as well. Because he was almost always the Reds last chance when they were battling from behind, this gave Javy the 'honor' of leading the league in making the last out of a game as well. This stat isn't as bad as it seems like either, it means your manager has plenty of faith in you in the clutch. All in all I will miss not seeing what this big guy would do with the game on the line.
With the departures of Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto have been thrown to the dogs to produce and produce big time. They'll probably bat somewhere between 2 and 5 in the order which means they'll be depended on to drive in runs in a big way for this team to succeed. Votto was runner up to Geovanny Soto in ROY voting in 2008. He finished the season at .297/24/84. Votto is a .300 hitter and he should break the 30 homer plateau this season. After the All Star break, Votto broke out in a big way hitting .321 over the 2nd half slugging almost .600 and nearly a .400 OBP.
Bruce also finished high in the voting. He finished 08 at .254/21/52. Bruce needs to work on making better contact as he struck out 110 times in 413 at bats. Also, his expected speed didn't pan out as he recorded only 4 steals and got caught 6 times. Bruce struggled away from Great American only .221 on the road as compared to .287 at home. He'll also have to improve against hte lefties as he hit only .190. I've got a feeling, he'll break out big time in 09.