Somber news in Redsland this morning
As ken noted earlier, Carl Lindner has passed at the age of 92. Lindner owned the team from '99 to '06 and perhaps the most lasting image of his tenure is that of him picking up Ken Griffey Jr at the airport in a Rolls Royce after the big trade. In many ways the polar opposite of his predecessor Marge Schott, Lindner shied away from the public spotlight and was known as a generous man with many philanthropic endeavors. Lindner built a multi-billion dollar empire, including his baseball interests, though he never finished high school. God speed, Mr. Lindner. So it goes.
Q Paul Konerko was considered as player/manager of the Chicago White Sox, so what are you thoughts about a team having a player/manager? — John, Springboro
A It’s tough enough to manage, let alone play and manage. Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Cleveland Indians shortstop Lou Boudreau was player-manager and did both jobs extremely well. Believe it or not, there have been 221 player/managers in the majors, most of them before the 1930s. Ty Cobb managed and played from 1921-26. The best was center fielder/manager Harry Wright of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first pro team. He went 57-0. The last was Pete Rose, who managed from 1984-89, but he quit playing in 1986. Despite some, uh, distractions Rose had a string of second-place finishes. And here is what player/manager Joe Cronin said about being a player/manager: "I used to send myself up to pinch-hit whenever the wind was blowing out."
Q I thought the days of playing players just because they have big salaries were over for the Reds, but clearly not if Bronson Arroyo is destined for next year’s rotation, as every writer projects? — Steve, Indianapolis
A Show me any team that benches one of their top-salaried players. Doesn’t happen. And are you going to toss away a 200-inning guy who usually wins 15-to-17 games after one off year, during which he battled mononucleosis and other nagging aches and pains? And is it his fault he plays in a park about the size of Williamsport? They have to give Arroyo a spot in the rotation — at least to start the season, because acquiring a pitcher of his stature just isn’t going to happen.
I have to agree with Hal here. Although Steve in Indy has a point, I think Bronson should get a shot based on merit instead of salary. Look it: I'm definitely not a BroYo fan, but the fact remains that he's been a useful pitcher for a number of years. This past year stunk somethin' awful fer sher, but you have to hope that it was an outlier instead of a concrete age-related regression. His K/BB rate was similar to years past, as were his GB rate and BABIP. The only real difference was in his HR/FB rate which should stabilize. If by the end of next May he's given up another 15-20 dingers, then you need think about making a change. But he deserves another chance even if he doesn't deserve the money he's making.
In an unfortunately-named piece
Joe Kay illustrates the narrative of the Reds unfortunate season. A poetic Dusty Baker, with Miles on the phono and a toothpick in his mouth, lays it down like this: "If our year's been a road, it's been a foggy road. Waiting for the sun to burn it off, it never did."
Bronson Arroyo is ambivalent about the coming off-season: "This is going to be a strange offseason, I think," Arroyo said. "I don't think anyone in the clubhouse right here has any idea of the moves the front office wants to make. They have a lot on their plate and I don't know what direction they are going in. Are they are going to keep it young and keep the core guys and add a couple of pieces? Or will they make drastic trades and trade some of the prospects to acquire other guys?"
MLBTR rattles off a list of managers and GMs who will work next season on the final year of their contracts
Here's what they said regarding Dusty: "Dusty Baker signed a two-year extension with the Reds last October. If Cincinnati takes the unlikely step of trading Joey Votto and starting a mini-rebuilding phase, Baker may not want to stick around while the club builds itself back into a contender. A Votto deal is a long shot (at least in the short term), however, so barring a poor season for the Reds in 2012, the team will probably pursue another extension with Baker next winter."
Number one, I don't think a trade of Votto (regardless of how unlikely it is) would mean a rebuilding effort. If such a trade were to go down, I would assume that the return would be high-end major-league pitching, not prospects. In fact, the ONLY way I see Votto being traded is if it actually makes the team better for the coming season. But yeah, that's why the likelihood of the deal is so low. There just ain't too many players out there as good as our homeboy.
Regarding Baker's future though, I expect 2012 to play out much the same as 2010 did. If they Reds win the pennant then I think Dusty earns another two-year extension. If they don't then I think Dusty heads back to Baseball Tonight.
When hard-hitting journalism hits, andromache hits back
We all know of the world-famous Adam Dunn '80s-style bobblehead that was given away just days before his being traded to Arizona, but did you know that the Indians had a similar promotion with Shin-Soo Choo the year after? In what is probably the most important thing you will read this minute, andro compares the two. Here's a snippet: "They’re a few other key differences. Adam’s definitely has more of a baseball feel to it, with a bat in his hand, a Reds cap at his feet, and even a wishbone-C reds logo on the back of his jacket, while Choo appears to be standing on a giant game of Simon. I mean, I know it was a thing in the 80s, but I don’t know why you would be standing on it."
BtB is doin' what they do, making interesting graphs of interesting information
This one regards reliever usage patterns and specialization. The entire piece is worth reading, but it gets reposted here mostly because RR favorite Sam LeCure shows up. LeCure was used out of the bullpen to tally more than three outs in 59% of his appearances and recording 4.38 outs per game, making him one of the most prototypical long men in the league this year. Growin' out the 'stache, rollin' in the cash.