- The kids are alright
In a game where normal cogs Joey Votto and Jay Bruce were 0-for-10, youth delivered in the form of Juan Francisco and his four hits. This weekend, Masters Francisco, Alonso, and Frazier all showed the offensive promise that their minor league track records suggest. The positionally-challenged trio went a combined 12 for 25 with four doubles and three homeruns, breaking my OPS calculator in the process. By taking their first series in St. Louis in five years, the Reds practically extinguished the Cardinals' already dim chances of sneaking up on Milwaukee.
- The Reds now head up to Chicago
where Devin Mesoraco hopes to get in on some of the fun. With a pinch-hit double on Saturday, Devin is a perfect 1 for 1 in his young major league career but hasn't yet seen any action behind the plate. That should change today. Baker told Meso that he'll catch Dontrelle Willis in this afternoon's game against the Cubs. Devin caught Dontrelle 10 times in Louisville this year, so hopefully a familiar battery mate helps Willis achieve his long-deserved first win as a Red.
Coco's contract and the closer conundrum
Francisco Cordero worked a scoreless 10th yesterday to save his 30th game of 2011 and 320th of his career. He's now one save behind his mentor Jose Mesa, who is 13th all-time. All well and good, but what to do with Coco's $12M team option for next season is a tricky matter. Spending eight figures on 60 innings, albeit high-leverage ones, makes little sense for a small market contender. But if you don't bring Coco back, who closes? Dusty: "Tough question. It would be kind of an experimental-type situation. You don't know. [Aroldis] Chapman has shown sometimes, maybe. Other times, he has a lack of control or a difference in stuff after a day or two. [Nick] Masset has been a bit inconsistent." One factor working in the Reds' favor is the ample supply of relievers on the free agency market this winter. With his age and the glut of relievers on the market, I doubt Coco will be able to get a favorable deal for anything beyond two years.
- If Coco is gone, there are plenty of bullpen options to consider. Edinson Volquez returned to the Reds this weekend after spending the past two months with Louisville. The word is that he might get a couple of starts down the stretch, but will be pitching out of the 'pen in the short-term. Does Volquez think he should've accepted the Reds' multi-year contract offer last winter? "Maybe." Aroldis Chapman might be moving in the opposite direction, at least if it's up to pitching coach Bryan Price: "I can't guarantee anything because it will be an organizational decision. However, I do think at some point he's going to have a chance to start. I think it's something we will definitely be looking at." As a point in favor of starting Chapman, Price points out that starting would give him more time to work with Chapman in between starts.
Coco's not the only one with a contract situation
Brandon Phillips also has a $12M team option for next season, which is almost certain to be exercised. The real question is whether the Reds make a serious effort to extend Phillips beyond next season, as they did with Bronson Arroyo last year. The team's inaction to date hasn't sat too well with BP: "I thought there might be some talks going on during the season but I haven't heard anything all year. I was very disappointed about it. It hurts bad that this is where I want to be at and I've paid blood, sweat and tears for this organization, but the only thing I can do is thank them very much for giving me a second opportunity. I can't really trip about anything that much." Phillips can take comfort in the fact that Walt has not negotiated deals during the season as far as I can recall, with the exception of Scott Rolen's unusual situation. In any event, Phillips is helping his own cause with his torrid hitting from the leadoff slot. After going 2-for-4 last night, his AVG climbed back over .300. His career high is .288, set back in 2007.
Baseball Prospectus - The Moneyball Misperception
I fully expect the movie to miss on the book's underlying message, but I'm still looking forward to Moneyball -- the motion picture. The book was about fat guys drawing walks, right? Anyways, I don't agree with Tommy Craggs' pessimistic interpretation of the book, but it's interesting to see the proliferation of a new generation of Moneyball arguments some ten years after the book.
John Erardi lists his ten fastest Reds of all-time
We've been blessed with some speed over the years. A fun list, though I wept for the omission of Gary Redus, who in three-plus years with the Reds stole 146 bags and hit 18 triples and only 10 GDPs. John and Greg Rhodes have also made their top-100 Reds list which will be disclosed shortly. Should be interesting to compare it with Riverfront76's work.
- If you haven't heard, Billy Hamilton swiped his 100th bag of the year over the weekend. He became the 11th minor leaguer ever to join the century club.
- The Phillies just handed it to the Reds in a bad way this week, likely repayment for the same treatment the Reds gave them exactly 12 years ago. On September 4, 1999, mostly due to the inspired cheering of yours truly, the Reds launched an unprecedented offensive assault with 9 HRs and 22 total runs. They followed that up with 5 HRs on the following day‚ giving them a ML record 14 over the course of two games.
As you enjoy your Labor Day,
recall that it was not that long ago when the world's most powerful union was beholden to the owners like indentured servants. The most important player of the labor movement was Curt Flood, who probably sacrificed a chance at the Hall of Fame in order to protest a trade sending him from St. Louis to Philadelphia. What's not often discussed about Flood is that he was originally signed by the Reds. Flood had in fact played at the same Oakland high school as two other Reds' OF signees, Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson. Due to an embarrassment of OF riches and perhaps because of a reluctance to go with an all-black OF, the Reds practically gave Flood away to St. Louis after the '57 season. Ouch. A while back RL Nation discussed why the trade is among the worst in club history. Happy grilling!