Red Reposter - 3/7/09

A little weekend Reposter to catch you up on what the internet is saying about the Reds:

Hall o' Famer Hal has an article up discussing the 5th starter situation.  He gives his odds on who will win out.  Here's what he says about his favorite to win:

MICAH OWINGS (2 to 1) — As long as he keeps pitching good, as he has in his two outings, he is nearly the odds-on favorite. No. 1, the team WANTS him to be No. 5. You don’t trade a player like Adam Dunn for a starting pitcher and then quickly shuffle him aside.

He makes a good point about the Dunn trade.  I hadn't really thought of that angle before.  I figure Owings will get the nod, but this only further bolsters his case.  Hal also had some very interesting things to say about Johnny Cueto:

Now, I have a question for you? All we’ve heard is that the Reds are looking for only the No. 5 spot in the rotation. My question is: Why is Johnny Cueto a for-sure? Why should he be?  Yes, he has great stuff. But he was 9-14 in 31 starts for the Reds last year with a 4.81 ERA. Why should that guarantee him anything?  And now he is gone, off to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. He pitched three innings for the DR in an exhibition game against Baltimore and was the loser, giving up three runs and five hits.  What if Owings and Bailey continue to pitch with aplomb this spring and Cueto doesn’t? What iff Cueto comes back and gets banged around?  Shouldn’t the team consider making Owings No. 4 and Bailey No. 5?

 

A few things:  if Hal wants the competition opened up to include the 4 and 5 rotation spots, it ostensibly becomes a race between Cueto, Owings, and Bailey.  Hal says that.  Even though this is just a stupid, stupid idea, let's indulge Hal for a minute.  It is clear that Bailey is the odd man out here, even if he has a lights-out spring.  Cueto has a full year of Major League experience and a 4.81 ERA, while not something to brag about, is a pretty respectable number for a kid at 22-years-old.  What did Bailey do as a 22-year-old last year?  His ERA was 4.71.  AND HE WAS PITCHING IN AAA!!  Now, I'm rooting for Homer as much as anyone else, but there is no way 6 weeks in spring can erase the huge lead Cueto has on him right now.  Hal is falling under the "what have you done for me lately?" Spring Training spell.  Frankly, I expect more from a Hall o' Famer.

Dusty Baker thinks Alex Gonzalez will play SS on Tuesday.  If memory serves, it will be the first time we've seen him there since September of '07.  I don't know about you, but I'm kinda excited.

This quote from Jay Bruce has me pulling off my shirt in excitement: 

"That's my No. 1 goal at Spring Training -- swing at strikes and take balls. Not just strikes, but pitches I think I can drive," Bruce said before Friday's game against the Twins. "Something I ran into in the past, if I felt I could make contact with the ball, I'd just swing. This Spring Training, I'm really trying to swing at pitches I can drive and not be afraid to get deep into the counts."

If Bruce can work on his plate discipline just a bit, taking a few more walks and cutting down on his Ks, he will be one of the finest hitters in the National League.  I am 100% confident in that.  But wait!!  Wh-what about Dusty?  I'm sure he has something to say about this.  I mean, a young hitter like Bruce trying to tame his aggressiveness?  I'm sure he has something to say:

"He's starting to swing good. He's swinging better than he was last year, to me," Baker said. "Last year, his average was high but his production wasn't as good as it is this year. I talked to him the other day and said, 'Hey man, it's too early to pull. Start going up the middle and the other way.' That's what he has done."

...So Dusty is OK with all this?  Really?  Well all right.

How 'bout a fish taco, broseph?

This piece at FanGraphs had my jaw on the floor.  The Cubs have led the league in strikeouts as a pitching staff every season since 2001.  That is pretty incredible.  They have completely turned over their pitching staff since then, but they still maintain their pitch-to-kill philosophy in player evaluation.  Cameron mentions the Giants as a contender to detrone them this year, but watch out for the Reds as well.  We were 4th last year and look to even stronger this year, with Owings/Bailey replacing Fogg/Belisle.  Something to keep in mind as the season progresses.

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